Coronavirus pandemic could cost global tourism $2 trillion this year
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New York/Canadian-Media: The coronavirus pandemic will likely cost the global tourism sector $2 trillion in lost revenue in 2021, the UN’s tourism body said Monday, calling the sector’s recovery “fragile” and “slow.”
According to the latest forecast by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the same amount was lost in 2020, making it one of the sectors hit hardest by the health crisis.
Despite recent improvements, the report warned that demand for travel could be further affected by “uneven vaccination rates around the world and new COVID-19 strains which had prompted new travel restrictions in some countries.
In the past few days, the emergence of the Omicron variant has led dozens of countries to reinstate restrictions on arrivals, or to delay relaxation in COVID-19 travel and testing rules, leading to wide uncertainty for holiday season travelers worldwide.
Spikes in oil prices and the disruption of global supply chains have also had an effect. According to the latest UNWTO data, international tourist arrivals are expected to remain 70–75 percent below 2019 levels in 2021, a similar decline as in 2020.
‘We cannot let our guard down although a 58 percent increase in tourist arrivals was registered in July-September of this year compared to the same period in 2020, this remained 64 percent below 2019 levels, the UN body found.
In August and September, arrivals were at 63 per cent lower than 2019, which is the highest monthly result since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Between January and September 2021, worldwide international tourist arrivals stood at 20 percent lower, compared to 2020, a clear improvement from the 54 percent drop, over the first six months of the year.
“Data for the third quarter of 2021 is encouraging,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. “However, arrivals are still 76 percent below pre-pandemic levels and results across the different global regions remain uneven.”