The latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows the hard and fast numbers from what many already suspected.
International tourism is down.
Travel restrictions put in place in January and February in response to the coronavirus pandemic have hampered virtually travel, as international tourism dropped 70 percent over the first eight months of 2020 compared to last year, according to the UNWTO.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international arrivals plunged 81 percent in July and 79 percent in August, traditionally the two busiest months of the year for travel and the peak of the Northern Hemisphere summer season.
To put it into more stark terms, the downturn represents 700 million fewer arrivals compared to the same period in 2019 and translates into a loss of $730 billion worldwide in export revenues from international tourism. This is more than eight times the loss experienced on the back of the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.
“This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, and puts millions of jobs and businesses at risk,” added UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This underlines the urgent need to safely restart tourism, in a timely and coordinated manner.”
The findings also reveal that a recovery could happen next year.
Demand for travel remains largely subdued due to the ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic and low confidence. Based on the latest trends, UNWTO expects an overall drop close to 70 percent for the whole of 2020. And the organization’s Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in the third quarter of 2021 and perhaps into 2022.
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