The volume of international tourists could fall up to 80% in 2020, as a consequence of the movement restrictions induced by the coronavirus pandemic, and experts don’t expect recovery until end of year, announced this Thursday the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Confinement in numerous countries, travel restrictions and closings of borders, airports and hotels they are thrashing a industry that represents around 10% of world GDP and the number of jobs globally.
“It is the worst crisis that international tourism has faced since there are records, that is to say since 1950“they pointed out at the Madrid-based UN.
In the first quarter of the year, international tourist arrivals fell by 22%, according to an UNWTO report. AND in March alone they fell 57% year-on-year.
The fall of the first three months means for the moment “67 million fewer international tourists “, that is,” $ 80 billion lost “, specified the OMT.
“Tourism has been hit hard, and millions of jobs are at risk in one of the most labor-intensive sectors of the economy,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, quoted in The report.
Region by region
The fall of international tourism in the Americas it was 15.2% in the first three months, after a stable month of January, a rising February of 3%. But arrivals in March sank 46% year-on-year.
By subregions, arrivals decreased in the first quarter by 13% in North America, 19% in South America and 20% in the Caribbean.
Asia-Pacific was the region hardest hit, with a 35% drop in the first quarter.
In the report, UNWTO forecasts a global drop in international arrivals of between 60 and 80%. The final percentage will depend on when the restrictions are lifted, which can be from July, September or December, the three scenarios contemplated by the UNWTO.
In those scenarios, the impact could be estimated at drop of between 850 and 1.1 billion international tourists, and a loss of between $ 910 billion and $ 1.2 trillion in tourism export revenue.
“Between 100 and 120 million jobs in direct employment of tourism (they are) threatened“added UNWTO.
The projection released this Thursday is a drastic downward revision compared to the previous one, from the end of March, which spoke of a range between -20 and -30% for 2020.
As for the prospects, “domestic demand could recover before international demand“added the UNWTO, citing an expert survey.
“Most expect to start seeing signs of recovery in the last quarter of 2020, but especially in 2021“He added, pointing out that” the experts from the Americas are the least optimistic and are less willing to believe in the recovery in 2020. ”
In 2019, some 1.5 billion international tourists traveled the globe, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year, according to the UNWTO, which in January expected a similar evolution for 2020. The three most visited countries were France, Spain and the United States.
In Europe, where arrivals fell 60% yoy in March, the Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, said that the continent will need “a Marshall plan for tourism”, essential in countries like Italy, Greece, Portugal, France or Spain.
The 27 members of the EU are currently negotiating a “gigantic” reactivation fund, according to the commissioner, who talks about “between one and two trillion euros.”
In the United Kingdom, a major provider of tourists in Europe, “bookings for this summer have fallen very significantly,” said a spokesman for ABTA, the British association of tour operators.
The association believes that “when the confinement is lifted, the desire to travel to see loved ones and take a well-deserved vacation will be renewed.”