Global tourism industry faces $1 trillion Covid-related loss

The financial impact of Covid-19 on the global tourism sector is set to reach US$1 trillion with more than 100 million jobs threatened worldwide.

The stark figures come from a new policy brief from the United Nations outlining the pandemic’s impact on the tourism industry.

Tourist numbers globally are forecast to fall by between 58 per cent and 78 per cent from 2019 to 2020, which would result in a drop of 850 million to 1.1 billion tourists.

While US$320 billion has already been lost in export revenues from international tourism in the first months of 2020, that figure is expected to climb to between US$910 billion to US$1.2 trillion.

With one in 10 people worldwide working in the tourism sector, the pandemic has also put 100 million to 120 million jobs at risk. It is the world’s least developed countries, particularly in Africa, that are forecast to be the worst impacted.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres described tourism as one of “the wonders of the world” bringing people “closer to each other”.

“That is why it has been so painful to see how tourism has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.