Four-year recovery as global tourism loses $460bn in six months

The Covid-19 pandemic and its ensuing restrictions have cost the global tourism sector US$460 billion in lost revenue during the first six months of 2020.

The latest figures by the World Tourism Organization show revenue lost between January and June amounted to “around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis”.

Asia has recorded the steepest decline in international visitor arrivals, which globally are down 65 per cent or 440 million. International visitor arrivals are forecast to drop by around 70 per cent by the end of the year.

“This represents an unprecedented decrease, as countries around the world closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic,” the World Tourism Organization said.

While tourism is slowly returning to some destinations, the UN body warned that “reduced travel demand and consumer confidence” would continue to hurt the sector for the rest of the year.

The UN body said it expects it will take two to four years for visitor arrivals to return to 2019 levels.