Travel and Tourism Sector Suffered $4.5 Trillion Loss in 2020
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) has revealed the full devastating impact of COVID-19 on the global Travel & Tourism sector last year. The report shows that the pandemic has caused a loss of almost $4.5 trillion for the global travel and tourism sector.
The industry’s contribution to GDP saw a big decline of 49.1%, dropping to $4.7 trillion in 2020 from nearly $9.2 trillion in the previous year. The report also shows that international travel spending fell 69.4% in 2020, while travel restrictions were put in place around the world. Domestic travel spending saw a smaller decline of 45%.
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. But, last year, more than 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5%, leaving just 272 million employed across the industry globally.
The research does have some positive notes for the current year. The sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply this year, up 48.5% year-on-year if travel sees the expected rebound by the summer. 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 62m jobs lost in 2020 could return by 2022.
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.