WTTC Economic Impact Report: Staggering loss for global travel and tourism sector in 2020

Rapid & effective vaccination could boost sector later this year
2021-03-26
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/ New Delhi
WTTC Economic Impact Report: Staggering loss for global travel and tourism sector in 2020

World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report revealed a huge loss in international & domestic travel spending (Photo Credit: WTTC)

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) which represents the global travel & tourism private sector, released a report revealing the devastating USD 4.5 trillion loss suffered by the sector in 2020 due to Covid-19.
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The sector’s contribution to global GDP plummeted 49.1 pc to USD 4.7 trillion in 2020 or 5.5 pc of the global economy, from nearly USD 9.2 trillion the previous year, or 10.4 pc of global GDP.

While the travel and tourism sector contributed 10.6 pc or 334 million jobs globally in 2019, more than 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5 pc, leaving just 272 million employed across the industry globally last year which were felt across the entire ecosystem of travel & tourism, with SMEs, which make up 80 pc of all businesses in the sector particularly affected, significantly impacting women, youth and minorities.

The report also revealed a huge loss in international travel spending and domestic travel spending, which was down 69.4 pc and 45 pc respectively the previous year.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said “We must praise the prompt action of governments around the world for saving so many jobs and livelihoods at risk, thanks to various retention schemes, without which today’s figures would be far worse. However, WTTC’s annual Economic Impact Report shows the full extent of the pain our sector has had to endure over the past 12 months, which has needlessly devastated so many lives and businesses, large and small.”

“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,” she added.

Measures for recovery

Research conducted by WTTC shows that if international mobility and travel is resumed by June 2021, 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 pc year-on-year and that its contribution could almost reach the same levels of 2019 in 2022, with a further year-on-year rise of 25.3 pc.

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

The global tourism body 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 while ensuring safe international travel including enhanced health and hygiene protocols; shifting to individual traveller risk assessments instead of country risk assessments; and continued support for the sector, including fiscal, liquidity and worker protection.

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