A leading global travel and tourism industry body has claimed that millions of travel and tourism jobs are at risk globally because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The coronavirus pandemic could result in a loss of up to 50 million jobs globally, said the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The outbreak of the virus globally “presents a significant threat to the industry”, said the industry body’s chief executive, Gloria Guevara.
Since the outbreak of the virus outside of China and particularly in Europe and the United States has forced airline companies to drastically cut down on the number of flights as well as carrying capacity to the virus affected region because of a sharp decline in demand due to travel curbs because of the virus outbreak. On the other hand, a number of insurance companies have also suspended providing cover to new purchasers of travel insurance.
There can be a shrinking of about 25 per cent in the global travel sector for 2020, according to the new estimates published by the WTTC. The trade body has urged various governments and authorities to take multiple measures to help protect the huge impact that the industry is slated to face because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The body urged government to either eliminate or simplify visas where possible while also reducing costs of procuring visas. It also called on policy makers to relax “unnecessary barriers” at ports and airports and bring down the taxes collected from tourists and travelers such as Air Passenger Duty. And providing fiscal stimulus in terms of more budgetary support for promotion of the travel destinations was also demanded.
But Guevara added: “Travel and tourism has the strength to overcome this challenge and will emerge stronger.”
The global spread of the deadly coronavirus that causes the disease Covid-19 has impacted the travel and tourism industry the most because of travel restrictions imposed by many countries ort prevent and control the spread of the virus outbreak.
For example, the cruise ship firm Princess Cruises announced suspension of all activities and operations for a period of 60 days because of the virus outbreak and low demand. One of the cruise ships of the company was not allowed to dock in San Francisco and was kept off the cost for five days after 21 passengers on board the ship were found to have been infected by coronavirus.
The virus outbreak has also forced flight curtailment by the British Airways, EasyJet and Norwegian Air. A warning that the coronavirus outbreak could threaten its survival was issued recently by Korean Air.
On the other hand, there was an 84.5 per cent drop in passengers for airlines in China – the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, for the month of February which reflected the scale of the economic impact that the virus outbreak has had on the second largest economy of the world. The fall in passengers in China had caused a 21bn-yuan drop in the revenue of airlines, said the country’s aviation regulator on Thursday.
(Adapted from BBC.com)