According to the latest Global Barometer of Tourism of the UNWTO the collapse of international travel represents an estimated loss of $1.3 trillion. In all, the revenue lost from exports is more than 11 times the loss that occurred during the global economic crisis of 2009. Some 200 million jobs have either been totally lost or are in danger, most of them with small to medium size businesses.
the UNWTO report going on to say that worldwide destinations lost 1 billion international arrivals compared to 2019’s figures. The unprecedented fall in demand and the extensive travel restrictions led to an economic disaster far greater than that of the so-called Great Recession.
To make matters even worse, the crisis is still a long way is over. Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, many countries are now more stringent travel restrictions. These include the mandatory test, the quarantine, and, in some cases, the complete closure of the border – all to be borne by the resumption of international travel.
Meanwhile, the gradual placing of a vaccine against the COVID-19 is expected to help restore consumer confidence, and help relax the travel restrictions, and to normalize slowly travel during the next year. The secretary-general of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili offered this:
“While much has been done to enable the safety of international travel, we know that the crisis is far from reached at the end of the. The harmonization, the coordination and the digitisation of risk reduction measures by the COVID-19 associated with the travel, including certificates, test, detection and vaccination, it is essentially a foundation for the promotion of safe travel and the preparation for the recovery of tourism, when the circumstances allow it”.
The report also shows that prospects for recovery in 2021 may have deteriorated. According to the numbers, 50% of respondents to the survey now expect that there will be a recovery only in 2022 compared with 21% who asked in October 2020. The remaining half of respondents still see a possible recovery in 2021, although below the expectations that appear in the survey of October 2020 (79% expect a recovery in 2021).
The grim outlook suggests that a return to the levels of 2019 may only come about by 2024 or later. Many experts don’t see return to pre-pandemic before 2023. In fact, 43% of respondents indicate 2023, while 41% expects the return to the levels of 2019 will only happen in 2024 or later.
The extended scenarios of UNWTO for the period 2021-2024 show that it will take two and a half to four years to return to international tourism to the level of 2019.