International tourism numbers could plunge to an 80% drop in 2020, World Tourism Organization reports

International –

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to a decline of international arrivals numbers between 60 to 80 percent worldwide, putting millions of jobs in the tourism industry at risk by the end of 2020.

The loss of tourism globally also impacts the loss of $850 million to US$1.1 billion directly from international tourists, of $910 billion to US $1.2 trillion in export revenues from tourism, and 100 to 120 million tourism jobs at risk of permanently being lost worldwide, according to the UNWTO.

International tourism is one of the main engines of the world economy as it accounts for roughly seven percent of international trade. It also creates direct and indirect jobs, accounting for 1 out of 10 of all jobs worldwide. The sector also has in many countries, including Thailand, a large informal industry that is also affected.

PHOTO: Thansettakij

The UNWTO, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), stated that it is the worst crisis that international tourism has faced since its records began in 1950.

The UNWTO data stated: “The tourism industry is one of the largest sectors to have been hit hard by health measures to control the spread of Covid-19. The extension of travel restrictions and the worsening of the financial crisis internationally also threatens international tourism and causes the industry to likely be the final sector to recover.”

PHOTO: Thansettakij

Moreover, the outbreak could worsen the financial recovery among low-income and developing countries, especially among those people who significantly depend on the tourism industry such as Thailand. A high risk of poverty could possibly happen in such countries.

On the bright side, the worldwide crisis is an opportunity to review countries’ tourism development in which the environment must be improved by presenting new tourist attractions and tourism businesses according to the UNWTO. Creating a new type of tourism ecosystem as well as developing and investing in sustainable tourism are some alternatives to promote domestic tourism while waiting for border reopenings, the UNWTO stated.

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