A staggering 100 million jobs in travel and tourism could now be at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The startling figure, based on research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has increased 30 per cent in the last four weeks, indicating the colossal challenge facing the sector.
WTTC analysis also shows a sharp escalation in the economic loss to the world economy, up to US$2.7 trillion ($4.1 trillion) of GDP from US$2.1 trillion ($3.2 trillion) just a month ago.
In terms of the impact by region, Asia holds nearly two-thirds of the potential tourism job losses: as many as 63.4 million are at risk, the council said, with a total reduction of US$1.041 trillion ($1.6 trillion) to GDP.
WTTC has called on the G20 forum, which powered recovery following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and made the recent decisive action to freeze debt, to lead a united and coordinated recovery for the sector out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC, said the forum had a proven track record to save tourism, and that recovery efforts should take heed from successes of the past by accelerating the sector’s recovery through the involvement of the private sector.
“This is a staggering and deeply worrying change in such a short time,” she said.
“In just the last month alone, our research shows an increase of 25 million in the number of job losses in travel and tourism. The whole cycle of tourism is being wiped out by the pandemic.”
Of the 100.8 million jobs at risk globally, WTTC said, almost 75 million are in G20 countries.
“We have alerted the G20 tourism ministers … to the extent of the crisis and advised on how governments need to step in swiftly to support and protect our sector.”
The measures advised by WTTC include four principles created to ensure the swift recovery for the sector, and the global economy, following the end of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The creation of a joint public-private coordinated approach across the G20 to re-establish effective operations, remove travel barriers and reopen borders
- Enhancing the seamless traveller journey experience by combining the latest technology and protocols to increase health standards
- Working with the private sector and health experts to define global standards for the new normal, grounded in science, which can be easily adopted by businesses of every size across all travel industries and can be implemented across the world
- Continuing to aid and assist the travel and tourism sector during the recovery phase, throughout the entire travel ecosystem.
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