Travel sector set to lose more than 197m jobs due to prolonged travel restrictions
More than 197 million jobs could be lost in the global travel and tourism sector if barriers to global travel, such as blanket anti-travel advisories and quarantine measures remain in place, according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The devastating figure comes from WTTC economic modelling, which looks at the impact faced by the travel and tourism sector amid local and global travel restrictions as a result of Covid-19.
In the worst-case scenario, where restrictions were lifted after the summer, the impact would be more significant, putting a total of 197.5 million jobs at risk. This represents an alarming 96 per cent rise from the most recent 100.8 million jobs WTTC had previously estimated to be under threat from the coronavirus pandemic.
The research shows that if these travel restrictions were removed sooner, it could save a staggering 99.3 million jobs.The impact of prolonged travel restrictions could also wipe out $5.543-billion in the sector’s contribution to global GDP, equating to a 62 percent drop compared with 2019. Meanwhile, in the worst-case scenario, global international arrivals will suffer a sharp decline of 73 and 64 percent for domestic arrivals.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said it was saddening to see the shocking job losses.
“This terrible virus has also had a crushing global socio-economic impact, which is threatening the jobs of millions of people who very livelihoods depend upon a thriving travel and tourism sector for their survival.
“Unfortunately, our new modelling reveals the depth of the long-term impact facing the global travel and tourism industry if travel restrictions continue for an extended period.
“The sector’s recovery will be delayed by heavy-handed restrictions just as it emerges from one of the most punishing periods in its history – in addition to the airlines, the entire travel ecosystem will suffer including millions of SME’s.
“Hotels, destinations, travel agents and others will all be devastated by the economic domino effect of prolonged restrictions on movement, plunging millions of travel businesses and their employees into financial ruin," added Guevara.
WTTC carried out the extensive research this week and its expert analysis came up with three possible outcomes for the sector. The worst-case scenario would be that the current restrictions will start to ease from September for short-haul and regional travel, from October for mid-haul and from November for long-haul.
In this scenario, 197.5 million jobs could be lost with a loss of $5.543-billion in global GPD. Meanwhile, global visitor numbers would drop by 73 percent for international arrivals.
The baseline scenario shows that restrictions start to ease from June for regional travel, July for short-haul or regional travel, from August for mid-haul, and from September for long-haul.
In this scenario, a total of 121.1 million jobs could be lost with a loss of $3.435-billion in global GDP. Meanwhile, global visitor numbers would drop by 53 percent for international arrivals and by 34 percent for domestic arrivals.
The best-case scenario shows that restrictions ease from June for short-haul and regional travel, from July for mid-haul and from August for long-haul.
In this scenario, a total of 98.2 million jobs could be lost with a loss of $2.686 billion in global GDP. Meanwhile, global visitor numbers would drop by 41% for international arrivals and by 26 percent for domestic arrivals.
The organisation revealed that the best-case scenario can still be achieved if governments around the globe follow WTTC’s recommended four-point plan.
“The health and safety of both travellers and those working within the sector are paramount. That’s why we have recommended the opening of ‘travel corridors’ between countries which have controlled the spread of the virus and provided immediate support for the entire Travel and Tourism ecosystem. This will be vital to kick-start the economic recovery and rebuild the livelihoods of millions of people," added Guevara.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, travel and tourism supported one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3 percent contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.