Based on the most recent research by WTO – United Nations specialized agency for tourism, 100% of global destinations have travel restrictions in place at the present date, most of which are COVID-19-related and enforced since at least the past four weeks and, as of 20 April, so far no destination has lifted them:
- 45% have totally or partially closed their borders for tourists – “Passengers are not allowed to enter”.
- 30% have suspended totally or partially international flights – “all flights are suspended”.
- 18% are banning the entry for passengers from specific countries of origin or passengers who have transited through specific destinations.
- 7% are applying different measures, such as quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days and visa measures.
Although it is impossible to assess the impact of COVID-19 on tourism there is one thing that is pretty clear: millions of jobs are at risk of being lost. Around 80% of all tourism businesses are small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the sector has been leading the way in providing employment and other opportunities for women, youth and rural communities especially in under developed Countries. The impact on tourism my in fact vary quite a lot from one Country to another, based on the possibilities of each to counteract the health emergency and to re start activities in a safe way for both operators and travellers.
Moreover, the travel industry involves several means of transportations spanning from airplanes to boats, from trains to buses which also are deeply impacted by the crisis. A research published by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), estimates, as the worst scenario, a reduction of available seats up to 72%, if signs of restart will happen not earlier than the third quarter of 2020
- Overall reduction ranging from 49% to 72% of seats offered by airlines.
- Overall reduction of 1,124 to 1,540 million passengers.
- Approx. USD 198 to 273 billion potential loss of gross operating revenues of airlines.
If there is one thing that all of us can do to counteract such a huge contraction of the tourism-based economy globally, which contributes up to more than 10% of the global GDP and employs directly and indirectly 1 worker out of 10, is to keep our “consumer confidence” high. There will obviously be some restrictions to be lifted and some health protection measures to be enforced by local governments but also there will be, from our side, some fears to be conquered. Thus, the best thing to do for now is planning, planning, planning.
In order to pave the way for a positive perspective WTO recently launched the #TravelTomorrow campaign, joined at first by Countries such as Germany, Morocco, Mongolia, Oman and Uruguay and positively extending to other countries in these very days.
Historically, tourism has proven itself as a key driver of international recovery, and as early as now, we must begin to prepare in order to build the foundations of the future resilience of tourism,”UNWTO Secretary – General Zurab Pololikashvili
If you want to join the #TravelTomorrow campaign you can find all information on the WTO official website.