On this Tuesday, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has declared that the pandemic and lockdowns have damaged the tourism sector and cost a shocking $320 billion loss in just four months from January to May, a signal of an overwhelming hammering on the industry as majority of the world stays at home.
During the initial five months in 2020, the number of tourists dropped by almost a half compared to 2019 as per a UNWTO count, accounting for 300 million missing visitors.
This showed a drop in travel is more than three times as much as the slump counted in 2009 global economic crisis took place. During this time, foreign tourism fell massively, according to France 24.
While the UNWTO did accept that in the coming days more people will be travelling—especially as European countries have started reopening their borders to visitors from few countries from late July – early Aug—recent rise of new cases across Europe and in other countries are posing major problem in the progress made.
The report particularly named the U.S. and Canada as two countries accountable as many tourists remain “at standstill,” when it comes to travel, as many countries have banned U.S. travelers as a result of the high infection rate there.
For the entire 2020, the U.N.’s trade and development arm said earlier this month that tourism could lose as much as $2.2 trillion.
“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,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, the World Tourism Organization’s Secretary-General in a Tuesday statement. “Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses.”
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