The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says that close to 3 million jobs in the UK — and 197 million worldwide in the travel and tourism sector globally — look set to be lost due to the collapse of travel.
The WTTC’s economic modelling — conducted less than two months ago – predicted this ‘worst case scenario’ would occur if barriers to global travel, such as quarantine measures and blanket travel restrictions were to remain in place.
And while some travel bans have been removed, many others remain, with new restrictions likely to come into force to tackle the continuing threat posed by COVID-19 and possible second spikes.
However, the WTTC says that the confusing patchwork of bans, quarantines and uncoordinated international testing and tracing measures, have deterred many people from travelling at all with the peak summer 2020 travel season all but being wiped out.
Last month travel to Spain was thrown into chaos when the UK government changed its travel advice to re-impose a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving back in the UK. This countrywide ‘travel ban’ came despite parts of Spain, such as Andalucia, the Balearics and Canaries having a lower COVID-19 infection rate than the UK.
WTTC estimates the UK now looks close to losing a staggering $186 billion from the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to UK GDP, equating to a 73% percent drop compared with 2019.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see our worst fears for the UK and global Travel & Tourism sector coming true. The jobs and livelihoods of millions of people who work throughout the sector are disappearing by the day, despite our warning this could happen.”
Guevara continued: “While we acknowledge the UK government’s efforts to support Travel & Tourism during this crisis, the UK alone looks set to lose three million jobs in the sector, creating an economic black hole of US$186 billion in the country’s finances. This is due to an international failure to implement proper coordination to combat the pandemic.”
“However,” Guevara said, “we still have time to turn this around if we act together now as one and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage. Employing the latest technology, combined with mass adoption of protective face coverings, will help restore confidence to the traveller.”
And the WTTC’s boss made it clear that: “Governments around the world must align their policies and work hand in hand with the private sector to revive Travel & Tourism, so we can restore jobs and help revive the global economy.”
Guevara noted: “We strongly believe that by working as one we can beat COVID-19 and return to safe travels with world class standards of hygiene to travellers and regenerate the jobs and livelihoods of the 300 million people who worked in the sector before COVID-19. That is a much more cost effective and efficient option which will alleviate the terrible economic impact of mass unemployment.”
Go to www.wttc.org for more.