COVID-19 Caused a 56% Year-On-Year Drop in Tourist Arrivals Between January & May

Tourism is undoubtfully one of the most affected and damaged sectors in the world, by the Coronavirus pandemic. Drop in Tourist Arrivals

Data collected and studied by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that indeed, international tourism has been badly hit, which will consequently cost three times more than the Global Economic Crisis of 2009.

UNWTO, which is a specialized tourism agency of the United Nations, has finally been able to come with a comprehensive report on the impact of the pandemic in tourist numbers and lost revenues.

In a press release presenting their findings, the UNWTO explains that their latest edition of World Tourism Barometer shows that the lockdown imposed to prevent the pandemic led to a 98 per cent fall in international tourist numbers in May, in comparison to the same month last year.

This translates into a fall of 300 million tourists and US$320 billion lost in international tourism receipts – more than three times the loss during the Global Economic Crisis of 2009,” the press release points out.

According to the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili these data highlight the importance of restarting tourism, adding that many millions of livelihoods are at risk, including in developing countries, due to the downfall of tourism.

“Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses. They also need to maintain the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that has defined our response to this shared challenge and refrain from making unilateral decisions that may undermine the trust and confidence we have been working so hard to build,” Secretary-General Pololikashvili says.

The report, however, notes that there are positive signs of a gradual, though slow, revival of tourism, in particular following the opening of borders across the Schengen Zone of the European Union on 1 July.

The majority of the members of the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts believe that the international tourism will recover by the second half of next year, whereas the rest expect a rebound in the first part of 2021.

Several groups in the EU have raised their concerns on the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and even millions. Back in mid-May, the European People’s Party urged the EU Commissioners to undertake the necessary measures to reboot tourism, highlighting the fact that the tourism industry is an essential player in the EU’s economy.

In 2019 alone, the EPP pointed out, the sector contributed 9.5 per cent to EU GDP and accounted for 11.2 per cent of the total labour force – about 22.6 million jobs.

The EU  Member States have also estimated their losses caused by the pandemic in the sector of tourism. In Spain, the tourism sector risks losing more than 40 billion euros during this summer, after dropping from  83.7 million international tourists last summer, to only some thousands of them so far. Drop in Tourist Arrivals

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