WTTC’s economic modelling predicted this ‘worst case scenario’ would occur if barriers to global travel, such as quarantine measures and blanket travel restrictions were to remain in place. While some travel bans have been removed, many others remain, with new restrictions likely to come into force to tackle the continuing threat posed by Covid-19 and possible second spikes.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, explained: “It’s heart-breaking to see our worst fears for the UK and global travel and tourism sector coming true. The jobs and livelihoods of millions of people who work throughout the sector are disappearing by the day, despite our warning this could happen.
“While we acknowledge the UK government’s efforts to support travel and tourism during this crisis, the UK alone looks set to lose three million jobs in the sector, creating an economic black hole of US$186 billion in the country’s finances. This is due to an international failure to implement proper coordination to combat the pandemic.
“However, we still have time to turn this around if we act together now as one and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage. Employing the latest technology, combined with mass adoption of protective face coverings, will help restore confidence to the traveller.
“Governments around the world must align their policies and work hand in hand with the private sector to revive travel and tourism, so we can restore jobs and help revive the global economy.”
Meanwhile, independent UK travel agent Hays Travel has pleaded with the government to re-think its policy on travel restrictions for holidays in Spain.
John Hays, Owner of Hays Travel, told the BBC: "What we would like to do is call on the government to look again at its policy with regards to Spain.
"The industry rose up as one after the announcement [to advice against all non-essential travel] so all the airports, the major airlines, and tour companies said the government's ban on travel to places in North East Spain was absolutely right. We totally agree with that.”
However, Hays added: "The infection rates in places like the Costa Del Sol and Majorca and Tenerife are less, and Germany is taking a more targeted and sophisticated approach."