A new study by the United Nations released on Wednesday forecast that there will be a stagnation in international tourism arrivals this year, except in some Western markets. That would result in losses of up to $2.4 trillion. The report also noted that the sector will not reach pre pandemic levels prior to 2023.
The report noted that restoration of confidence in foreign tourism, which is a major and sometimes only source of revenues especially for small island states that depend heavily on the sector to provide jobs, was critically dependent on vaccinations of Covid-19 and certificates.
According to the report by UNCTAD and the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there was a 73 per cent drop in international arrivals in 2020 compared to the 2019 numbers which resulted in an estimated loss to in tourism and related sectors of $2.4 trillion.
“The outlook for this year doesn’t look much better,” Ralf Peters of UNCTAD’s trade analysis branch, told a news conference. “The first three months were again bad, there was not much travelling happening,” he said.
“There is an expectation of a certain recovery in the second half of the year, at least for North America and Europe to a certain extent,” he said, crediting vaccinations.
For 2021m the report set out three scenarios which included a forecast of drop by between 63 per cent and 75 per cent from pre-pandemic levels for international tourism arrivals which would result in losses of between $1.7 trillion and $2.4 trillion.
“In international tourism we are at levels of 30 years ago, so basically we are in the ’80s … Many livelihoods are really at threat,” said Zoritsa Urosevic, Geneva representative of the Madrid-based UNWTO.
“What we are looking at in the long run is…meeting the 2019 numbers after 2023,” she said.
It would be a “very diverse recovery” and would vary by region and by country, said Sandra Carvao, chief of market intelligence at UNWTO.
She said that the only regional harmonisation to date was the digital COVID-19 certificate being issued by the European Union which is slated to come into force on Thursday.
“We see for example Asia-Pacific is still one of the most closed regions in the world at this moment – most of the borders in the countries are either totally closed or with significant restrictions,” said Carvao, referring to travel corridors.
(Adapted from TheEconomicTimes.com)