The World Travel & Tourism Council has urged for immediate government action to save travel and tourism from an economic meltdown.
Alarming figures based on new research from the WTTC shows a punishing travel and tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US$2.1 trillion ($3.4 trillion) in 2020.
WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said the worrying figures represent the collective delay by many governments around the world to react quickly enough to come to the aid of a sector, “which is the backbone of the global economy”.
“The number of jobs now at risk in the global travel and tourism sector is a staggering 75 million, bringing real and profound worry to millions of families around the world,” Guevara said in a statement.
She said that if urgent and collective government action is not taken “within the next few days”, the industry faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover.
This would also see millions of people dependent upon travel and tourism plunged into debt.
“Not only will this have an enormous negative impact on major businesses in the travel and tourism sector around the world, [but] 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.”
Asia-Pacific and Europe to be hardest hit
It comes as the industry faces its gravest challenge in modern history, with unprecedented global travel restrictions, compounded by fears of contracting the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus, bringing travel and tourism to a standstill.
As a result, a staggering 1 million tourism jobs are being lost every day.
In total, predictions of potential job losses have increased by 50 per cent, with as many as 75 million travel and tourism jobs now at immediate risk.
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be most heavily impacted with up to 49 million jobs at risk, representing a loss of nearly US$800 billion ($1.3 trillion) to travel and tourism.
WTTC’s latest figures also suggest that in Europe, up to 10 million jobs in travel and tourism are at risk, totalling a loss of nearly US$552 billion ($902 billion).
Travel and tourism contributes to 10.4 per cent of global GDP and is directly responsible for generating one in 10 of the world’s jobs.
For eight successive years, tourism has outpaced the growth of the global economy.
Furthermore, according to WTTC’s latest ‘Economic Impact Report’ for 2020, the sector was responsible for generating one in four of all new jobs globally in 2019.
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