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Trillion Dollar Impact

WTTC Research Shows Massive Industry Losses In 2020

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) reveals the full and devastating impact of COVID-19 had on the global Travel & Tourism sector last year, which suffered a massive loss of almost US$4.5 trillion.

The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector’s contribution to GDP dropped a staggering 49.1%, this compared to the overall global economy which dropped by just 3.7% last year.

Vast losses run up during 2020, paint the first full picture of a sector struggling to survive in the face of crippling travel restrictions and unnecessary quarantines, which continue to threaten the urgent recovery of the world economy.

Altogether, the sector’s contribution to global GDP plummeted to US$4.7 trillion in 2020 (5.5% of the global economy), from nearly US$9.2 trillion the previous year (10.4%).

In 2019, when global travel and tourism was thriving and generating one in four of all new jobs around the world, the sector contributed 10.6% (334 million) jobs globally.

However last year, as the pandemic ripped through the heart of travel and tourism, more than 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5%, leaving just 272 million employed across the industry globally.

These jobs losses were felt across the entire ecosystem of travel and tourism, with SMEs, which make up 80% of all businesses in the sector, particularly affected. Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.

However, the threat persists as many of these jobs are currently supported by government retention schemes and reduced hours, which without a full recovery of travel and tourism could be lost.

In fact the global tourism body fears governments cannot continue to prop up threatened jobs indefinitely and must instead turn to the sector to help its recovery, so it can power the global economic revival by saving businesses and creating much needed new jobs and saving the millions of livelihoods that depend on the sector.

The report also reveals a shocking loss in international travel spending, which was down 69.4% on the previous year.

Domestic travel spending fell by 45%, a lower decline due to some internal travel in a number of countries.

Praising the efforts of governments around the world to help the industry, WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara noted that: “With the sector’s contribution to GDP plunging by almost half, it’s more important than ever that Travel & Tourism is given the support needed so it can help power the economic recovery, which will be instrumental in enabling the world to revive from the effects of the pandemic.

While 2020 and the winter of 2021 have been ruinous for travel and tourism, with millions around the world in lockdown, WTTC research shows that if international mobility and travel is resumed by June this year, it will significantly boost global and country level GDPs — and jobs.

According to the research, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply this year, up 48.5% year-on-year. The research also shows that its contribution could almost reach the same levels of 2019 in 2022, with a further year-on-year rise of 25.3%.

WTTC also predicts that if the global vaccine rollout continues at pace, and travel restrictions are relaxed just before the busy summer season, the 62 million jobs lost in 2020 could return by 2022.

As a result, the council is strongly advocating the resumption of safe international travel in June this year, if governments follow its four principles of recovery, which includes a comprehensive coordinated international testing regime upon departure for all non-vaccinated travellers, to eliminate quarantines.

It also includes enhanced health and hygiene protocols and mandatory mask wearing; shifting to individual traveller risk assessments instead of country risk assessments; and continued support for the sector, including fiscal, liquidity and worker protection.

WTTC says the introduction of digital health passes, such as the recently announced Digital Green Certificate will support the sector’s recovery.

The global tourism body also urges governments around the world to provide a clear and decisive roadmap, allowing businesses time to ramp up their operations in order to recover from the ravages of the pandemic.

 

Posted in Airlines, COVID-19, Cruise, Destinations, News, Tour Operators, Tourism Organizations, Travel Agents, Trends & Research

 

 

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