International tourism is set to plunge by 20-30 per cent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the World Tourism Organization.
The drop off in travel will lead to an estimated loss of up to US$450 billion in international tourism receipts worldwide and is set to put millions of jobs at risk across the tourism sector.
The latest stats are markedly more pessimistic than a forecast made on March 6 of a decline of just 1 to 3 per cent.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the body had predicted at the beginning of the year that international tourism would grow by 3 to 4 per cent in 2020.
“Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors,” the body’s secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said in the statement.
The last time international tourist arrivals posted an annual decline was 2009 when the global financial crisis impacted the travel sector.