The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the leading international agency for responsible and sustainable tourism under the United Nations has released its latest report on the impact of Covid-19.
An insight into the global travel and hospitality businesses, the report reveals that the pandemic-led lockdown has caused an alarming 98 per cent fall in the numbers of international tourists in May versus the data in 2019. This means that the consequences and figures are more alarming than during the global economic crisis in 2009.
Between January to May, around 56 per cent year-on-year drop has been recorded in international tourist arrivals and lost revenues, translating into a plunge of 300 million tourists and $320 billion.
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UNWTO, today, revealed that out of 217 destinations, 87 locations have eased Covid-related measures for international tourist arrivals in Europe, Middle-East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Americas, and 115 others still have their borders closed for tourism.
Consumer confidence at an all-time low
The way people are now travelling or will travel here on will change, UNWTO highlights in its trend report. Tourism is getting back on its foot and many countries are slowly opening their borders for foreigners. But, the UNWTO Confidence Index has witnessed a record low, from January to April 2020, which might continue until August.
The prediction according to the Panel of Tourism Experts at UNWTO is that the recovery of the international tourism industry can be expected by the second half of 2021.
Some global experts indicate risks that possibly contribute to the drop in tourism and consumer confidence worldwide such as travel restrictions, border shutdowns in a majority of destinations, especially in the US and China, safety concerns and resurgence of the virus and chances of new lockdowns. The constant worry of not having reliable information and deteriorating economic situations add up to the growing concerns of the travellers as well.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “This latest data makes clear the importance of restarting tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic fall in international tourism places many millions of livelihoods at risk, including in developing countries. Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses.”
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