UNWTO has predicted that international tourist arrivals will grow negatively between 1-3 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will translate to an estimated loss of US$ 30 to 50 billion in international tourism receipts. Previously, a positive growth of 3-4 percent was predicted for the year.
Asia and the Pacific will be most affected
The initial assessment has predicted that Asia and the Pacific will be the worst hit. The anticipated fall in arrivals is between 9 and 12 percent. Since the situation is rapidly evolving, estimates for the rest of the world may presently be premature. The UNWTO has also made it clear that estimates are likely to be updated.
Financial and political support is of the utmost importance for recovery measures aimed at tourism to succeed. The impact of COVID-19 will be seen across the tourism value chain. Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises makeup around 80 percent of the tourism sector and are particularly exposed with millions of livelihoods across the world, including within vulnerable communities, relying on tourism.”
The tourism sector has the ability to bounce back from this pandemic but the key to this will be political and financial commitments.