Tourism

New UNWTO data confirms 2020 as worst year in tourism history

Global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74 per cent, according to the latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Destinations worldwide welcomed one billion fewer international arrivals in 2020 than in the previous year, due to an unprecedented fall in demand and widespread travel restrictions. This compares with the 4 per cent decline recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis.

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of US$1.3 trillion ($1.7 trillion) in export revenues – more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis.

The research found that the COVID-19 pandemic has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of them in small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The latest UNWTO Panel of Experts survey shows a mixed outlook for 2021. Almost half of respondents (45 per cent) envisaged better prospects for 2021 compared to last year, while a quarter expect a similar performance, and 30 per cent foresee a worsening of results in 2021.

However, the overall prospects of a rebound in 2021 seem to have worsened, with half of all survey respondents now expecting a rebound to only happen in 2022, compared to 21 per cent in October 2020.

Looking further ahead, most experts do not see a return to pre-pandemic levels happening before 2023.

In fact, 43 per cent of survey respondents point to 2023, while 41 per cent expect a return to 2019 levels will only happen in 2024 or later.

The UNWTO’s extended scenarios for 2021 to 2024 indicate that it could take two-and-a-half to four years for international tourism to return to 2019 levels.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, who was recently nominated to continue leading the agency for another four years, said: “While much has been made in making safe international travel a possibility, we are aware that the crisis is far from over.

“The harmonisation, coordination and digitalisation of COVID-19 travel-related risk reduction measures, including testing, tracing and vaccination certificates, are essential foundations to promote safe travel and prepare for the recovery of tourism once conditions allow.”


Featured image source: iStock/rarrarorro

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Plane passenger facing hefty fine over assault of flight attendant

The passenger allegedly ignored instructions from the flight attendant, started yelling expletives at her and other passengers, and then hit her in the face.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

International travel ban for Aussies extended by another three months

With all the COVID-19 variants floating about overseas at the moment, this decision by the federal government really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Travelport completes first-ever end-to-end rebrand

Wondering how the marketing team at Travelport have been filling their time during the industry’s COVID-induced slowdown? Here’s the answer.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Swan Hellenic selects local trade support partner, introduces vaccine requirement for crew

After being brought back from the dead less than a year ago (in the middle of a pandemic, mind you), Swan Hellenic is still very much alive.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts’ Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale

This week, The Fullerton’s GM showed Travel Weekly how to make Salerno-style ravioli. Our editor didn’t have the heart to tell him that he is allergic to gluten.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas to operate first ‘mystery flights’ since the 90s

Flight to nowhere? Check. Flight to somewhere? Check. Flight to who knows where? That’s next for Qantas.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre granted loan extension

There was reportedly a great deal of cheering and yahooing coming from Skroo’s office this morning. Discover the cause here.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Travelling family cop jail time over fake illness claims against tour operator

These halfwit travellers posted pics of themselves enjoying their holiday on social media, and even gave positive feedback about their trip via a survey, despite claiming to be ill.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Your ultimate agent guide to WA’s Margaret River region

by Sponsored by Tourism Western Australia

Have you always pretended to know everything about the Margaret River region to your clients, despite having never actually been there? Continue the facade with this.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott to more than double all-inclusive portfolio through new deal

Just like the waistline of Travel Weekly’s editor, Marriott’s all-inclusive portfolio of hotels and resorts is expanding.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Meet Rob, the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender at sea

Do you live in fear that one day you will be replaced in your job by a robot? Well, if you’re a bartender on a cruise ship, sadly that day has arrived.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

ACCC backs reauthorisation of Qantas-American Airlines alliance

It looks like Alan Joyce and Doug Parker will be buying each other anniversary gifts for the next few years.

Share

CommentComments