…arrivals down 70%
International tourism continued on the downward trend from the impact of COVID –19, which saw travel restrictions and bans across all the regions of the world. Following this development, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer report showed that export revenues from international tourism recorded a loss of $730 billion while arrival figures took a plunge of 70 per cent in the first eight months of the year. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international arrivals plunged 81 per cent in July and 79 per cent in August, traditionally the two busiest months of the year and the peak of the Northern Hemisphere summer season. The drop until August represents 700 million fewer arrivals compared to the same period in 2019, and translates into a loss of $730 billion in export revenues from international tourism. This is more than eight times the loss experienced on the back of the 2009, global economic and financial crisis.
The Secretary-General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, decried the development, saying: “This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, and puts millions of jobs and businesses at risk. Following this, he calls for the urgent restart of tourism and removal of all forms of restrictions and bans on activities related to the sector,adding: “This underlines the urgent need to safely restart tourism, in a timely and coordinated manner.” Details of the report shows that all the regions recorded a decline in arrivals, as Asia and the Pacific saw a 79 percent decrease; Africa and the Middle East (both – 69 per cent), Europe (-68 per cent) and the Americas (-65 per cent). Demand for travel, the report says remains largely subdued due to the ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic and low confidence. Based on the latest trends, UNWTO expects an overall drop close to 70 per cent for the whole of 2020. However, the report forecast a rebound in travel demands in the third quarter of 2012 while around 20 percent of experts suggest the rebound could occur only in 2022.