The global tourism and travel sector could lose some 2.7 trillion dollars due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which also puts close to 100 million jobs at risk, according to estimates by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC , in English).
The president of the WTTC, Gloria Guevara, pointed to the suspension of international visits by China, those who spend the most on world travel, as one of the main causes of the crisis, with “enormous impact” on the rest of the economies.
The private sector group calculates that tourism makes up 10.3% of the world gross domestic product (GDP).
“Governments must pay workers who lost their jobs, help businesses with interest-free loans, since we need liquidity. Also tax benefits so that companies do not pay taxes and use that money to pay workers,” he defended in internet conversation.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects international tourism to fall 45% this year, a figure that could rise to 70% if the recovery continues until September.
The G20 tourism ministers met virtually last Friday and tasked a working group to identify the challenges facing the sector and suggest measures to stimulate its recovery.
“We are committed to helping businesses in the tourism sector, entrepreneurs and workers adapt and grow in the new post-crisis era,” the G20 ministers said in a joint statement at the end of the meeting, organized by the current Saudi presidency.
The WTTC agrees on the need for governments to coordinate their response to the recovery of the sector.
“We learned from the economic crisis the recovery because they used a G20 platform,” said Guevara.
According to WTTC data, the economies of the Middle East are in phase four of the impact, after China, Europe and the United States, and could lose some 2.6 million jobs and $ 96.2 billion in 2020.
Saudi Arabia has suffered a major blow to its economy with the suspension of minor pilgrimages, which made religious tourism an important source of income, and could even suspend the most important pilgrimage, the annual “hach” if the situation requires it.
The kingdom, which began issuing tourist visas last September and in recent years has invested billions of dollars in promoting the country as a tourist place, announced on Sunday the resumption of some economic activities while maintaining sanitary measures.
The United Arab Emirates, for its part, has asked the board of directors of Expo Dubai 2020 to delay until next year this event that was expected to help boost the economy of this city, economic node and international communications.
According to a survey by the crisis management agency Global Rescue, 91% of participants are willing to undergo medical tests if this means they can travel, something that could help a slight recovery in the sector.