Virus cost global tourism $1.3 trillion in 2020 - UN

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The WTO said most experts do not see a return to pre-pandemic levels of tourism activity happening before 2023.
The WTO said most experts do not see a return to pre-pandemic levels of tourism activity happening before 2023.
Andriy Onufriyenko
  • The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $1.3 trillion in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of people travelling plunged, the UN said.
  • Revenue lost last year amounted to "more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis," the Organization said, warning that between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs were at risk.
  • International tourist arrivals fell by one billion in 2020 with Asia, the first region to feel the impact of Covid-19, seeing the steepest decline.


The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $1.3 trillion in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of people travelling plunged, the UN said Tuesday, calling it "the worst year in tourism history".

Revenue lost last year amounted to "more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis," the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said in a statement, warning that between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs were at risk.

International tourist arrivals fell by one billion, or 74%, in 2020 with Asia, the first region to feel the impact of Covid-19, seeing the steepest decline, it added.

"While much has been made in making safe international travel a possibility, we are aware that the crisis is far from over," WTO head Zurab Pololikashvili said in the statement.

While the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to "slowly normalise travel" in 2021, many countries are reintroducing stricter travel restrictions such as quarantines, mandatory testing and complete border closures "due to the evolving nature of the pandemic", the UN body said.

International tourism arrivals rose by 4% in 2019 to 1.5 billion, with France the world's most visited country, followed by Spain and the United States.

The last time international tourist arrivals posted an annual decline was in 2009 when the global economic crisis led to a 4% drop.

The WTO said most experts do not see a return to pre-pandemic levels of tourism activity happening before 2023.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
USD/ZAR
14.23
(-0.4)
GBP/ZAR
19.92
(+0.1)
EUR/ZAR
17.19
(+0.4)
AUD/ZAR
11.12
(+0.8)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(-0.1)
Gold
1,773.52
(+0.1)
Silver
26.03
(+0.8)
Platinum
1,212.50
(+0.2)
Brent Crude
67.05
(+0.4)
Palladium
2,807.38
(-0.3)
All Share
67,993
(-0.2)
Top 40
62,236
(-0.1)
Financial 15
12,294
(-1.0)
Industrial 25
87,871
(-0.5)
Resource 10
70,229
(+0.6)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 1282 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 3193 votes
My landlord refused
28% - 1717 votes
Vote