The global tourism sector lost $ 1.3 trillion in 2020 as a result of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced Thursday.
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This figure represents “more than 11 times the loss recorded during the global economic crisis of 2009”, and corresponds to a fall of 74% of tourist arrivals in the world compared to 2019, indicates the press release of the UNWTO, agency of the United Nations responsible for tourism and based in Madrid.
“2020 will have been the worst year in the history of tourism with 1 billion fewer international arrivals” compared to 2019, specifies the UNWTO.
During the 2008-2009 crisis, the number of visitors fell by only 4%.
According to UNWTO experts, 100 to 120 million direct jobs are threatened in tourism, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises.
The organization notes a “deterioration of the global outlook for a rebound in 2021” and estimates that “it will take two and a half to four years for international tourism to return to the levels of 2019”.
“We are aware that the crisis is far from over,” said Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, quoted in the press release.
“The harmonization, coordination and digitization of travel risk reduction measures related to COVID-19, including screening, tracing and vaccination certificates, are fundamental to promoting safe travel and preparing for the recovery of tourism when conditions allow, ”he adds.
Asia-Pacific is the region that saw the largest drop in arrivals in 2020 (-84% over one year), as it was the first affected by the pandemic and that it currently maintains the strongest restrictions on trips.
For Europe, the decline is 70% over the year, but the continent has experienced “the largest drop in absolute numbers”, with 500 million fewer arrivals.
The Middle East and Africa saw a decline of 75% and the Americas by 69%.