The collapse of tourism during the pandemic could cost the global economy $ 4 trillion

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The crash in international tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic could end up costing the global economy more than $ 4 trillion dollars in 2020 and 2021, according to a UN report released Wednesday, a burden was disproportionately felt in lower-income countries that were unable to secure the vaccines needed to protect their populations.

Key Facts

The decline in travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic cost global tourism and related sectors $ 2.4 trillion in losses by 2020, according to a study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The loss this year is expected to be between $ 1.7 trillion and $ 2.4 trillion, the study found, even accounting for the return to travel spurred by high vaccination rates in richer countries.

The disparate distribution of vaccines around the world intensifies the economic blow of the pandemic, according to the report, with tourism in developing countries accounting for as much as 60% of global losses.

While heavily vaccinated countries such as the UK, US and France are expected to recover faster, experts believe the sector will not fully recover until at least 2023.

The main barriers to recovery are travel restrictions, poor virus control and low traveler confidence, which can be strengthened by high vaccination rates and vaccination schemes.

“Promoting vaccination to protect communities and support the safe restart of tourism is crucial for job recovery and the generation of much-needed resources, especially in developing countries,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Key background

The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, as travel companies, airlines and hospitality companies were largely shut down amid Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Governments used billion saves airlines and cruise ships became an early source of outbreaks of the disease. Even where borders have been more porous, consumer confidence and limited travel have hampered international tourism, even in recovery countries. Highly vaccinated countries dependent on tourism – such as Greece and Spain – which had partially reopened to travelers, now face a difficult choice as they struggle with the fast-spreading Delta variant while trying to keep the industry going. The industry was one of the earliest hits of new restrictions and became a very public hub

Crucial quote

The UN’s estimated losses are many worse than what it had expected a year ago when it predicted a 12-month standstill to cost the world $ 1.2 trillion and $ 3.3 trillion. “Even the worst-case scenario that UNCTAD expected last year turned out to be optimistic,” the organization said. said, “With international travel still low more than 15 months after the pandemic started.”

Large number

2.1%. That is how much of its GDP that the United States is facing by losing due to a reduction in tourism, the study found. The survey’s most optimistic scenario sees a decline of 1.1%.

Further reading

Covid-19 and tourism. An update (UNCTAD)

International tourism was not seen again in 2023 – UN report (Reuters)

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