Action must be taken to protect travel and tourism from coronavirus

Quarantine and Covid-19 yellow warning tape

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has predicted the impact coronavirus could have on the tourism and travel sector. Spoiler: it’s not good

The forum’s latest research shows that up to 75 million jobs in the sector are at immediate risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This translates to one million jobs being lost every single day, and a travel and tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US$2.1 trillion in 2020. Stark figures.

Looking at how the crisis will affect individual regions, WTTC found that Asia-Pacific is expected to be the most heavily impacted, with up to 49 million jobs at risk throughout the region, representing a loss of nearly US$800 billion to travel and tourism GDP.

In Europe, up to 10 million jobs in the sector are at risk, totalling a loss of nearly US$552 billion. WTTC’s research found that Germany is set to be the most affected country in Europe, with almost 1.6 million jobs at risk, followed by Russia with an estimated 1.1 million in potential job losses, and then Italy and the UK, with both countries projected to lose up to one million jobs in the sector.

And, over in the Americas, the US, Canada and Mexico are expected to lose up to US$570 billion combined, with nearly seven million jobs in travel and tourism at risk.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, said that if urgent action isn’t taken within the next few days, the repercussions will be severe: “The travel and tourism sector faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover and plunge millions of people dependent upon it for their livelihoods into debt.

“Not only will this have an enormous negative impact on major businesses in the travel and tourism sector around the world, the ‘domino effect’ will also result in massive job losses across the entire supply chain, hitting employees and those in self-employment.

“We call on all those in positions of power to help the powerless and enact policies to support and sustain a sector which is a driving force of the global economy and responsible for generating one in five of all new jobs.”