Global tourism losses reach $460 billion in H1
In a statement, the UNWTO said international tourist arrivals dropped 65 percent from January to June as countries closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.
STAR/ File
Global tourism losses reach $460 billion in H1
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The international tourism industry has lost around $460 billion in receipts in the first half of the year as arrivals plunged due to the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said.

In a statement, the UNWTO said international tourist arrivals dropped 65 percent from January to June as countries closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.

It added that in June alone, international arrivals dropped by 93 percent compared to figures a year ago.

The UNWTO said the massive drop in international travel demand over the first half of the year translates into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about $460 billion in export revenues from international tourism.

“This is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis,”the UNWTO said.

On a regional basis, Asia and the Pacific was the hardest hit region, with a 72 percent fall in tourists for the six-month period.

This was followed by Europe with a 66 percent decline in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020.

In addition, the Americas saw a 55 percent decline, while Africa and the Middle East both registered a 57 percent drop.

“The contraction of international demand is also reflected in double-digit declines in international tourism expenditure among large markets. Major outbound markets such as the United States and China continue to be at a standstill, though some markets such as France and Germany have shown some improvement in June,” the UNWTO said.

Looking ahead, the UNWTO said reduced travel demand and consumer confidence is likely to continue to impact results for the rest of the year.

In May, UNWTO outlined three possible scenarios, pointing to declines of 58 percent to 78 percent in international tourist arrivals in 2020.

“Current trends through August point to a drop in demand closer to 70 percent, especially now as some destinations re-introduce restrictions on travel,”the UNWTO said.

“The extension of the scenarios to 2021 point to a change in trend next year, based on the assumptions of a gradual and linear lifting of travel restrictions, the availability of a vaccine or treatment and a return of traveller confidence,”it added.

The UNWTO said it would take two to four years for tourism arrivals to return to pre-pandemic levels.

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