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Published on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Global tourism could plummet by 80 per cent this year







International tourist numbers could fall by up to 80% this year, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In a report out today, it outlined three different scenarios which pointed to declines in arrivals of between 58% and 78%, depending on the speed of containment of Covid-19 and how long travel restrictions and border shutdowns are kept in place.




The report said international tourism was down 22% in the first three months of the year.

Arrivals in March dropped sharply by 57% following the start of lockdowns, travel restrictions and the closure of airports and national borders, translating to a loss of 67 million international arrivals.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: "The world is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Tourism has been hit hard, with millions of jobs at risk in one of the most labour-intensive sectors of the economy."

According to a UNWTO survey of tourism experts, domestic demand is expected to recover faster than international demand.

The majority of experts expect to see signs of recovery by the final quarter of 2020 but mostly in 2021.

Based on previous crises, leisure travel is expected to recover quicker, particularly travel for visiting friends and relatives, than business travel.

The estimates regarding the recovery of international travel is more positive in Africa and the Middle East with most experts foreseeing recovery still in 2020.

Experts in the Americas are the least optimistic and least likely to believe in recovery in 2020, while in Europe and Asia the outlook is mixed, with half of the experts expecting to see recovery within this year.



 

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