Travel and Tourism Sector losses US$4.5 trillion in 2020 due to COVID impact: WTTC Report
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) today reveals the full 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 & 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 & 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 & 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.
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.
While 2020 and the winter of 2021 have been ruinous for Travel & 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%.
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