The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $ 1.3 trillion in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of travelers fell, the UN said on Tuesday, calling it “the worst year in tourism history.”
The revenue lost last year was “more than 11 times the losses recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis,” the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said in a statement warning that between 100 and 120 million jobs were in the direct tourism are at risk.
International tourist arrivals fell a billion, or 74 percent, in 2020, with Asia, the first region to feel the effects of Covid-19, the largest drop.
“Although much has been done to enable safe international travel, we are aware that the crisis is far from over,” said WTO chief Zurab Pololikashvili in the statement.
While the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021 is expected to “slowly normalize travel”, many countries are reintroducing stricter travel restrictions such as quarantines, mandatory testing and full border closings “due to the evolving nature of the pandemic,” said.
International tourist arrivals rose four percent to 1.5 billion in 2019, with France being the most visited country in the world, followed by Spain and the United States.
The last time international tourist arrivals saw an annual decline was in 2009, when the global economic crisis resulted in a four percent decline.
The WTO said most experts see no return to pre-pandemic tourism activity until 2023.
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