Coronavirus or COVID19 has affected everyone and every single business around the globe. Its recognition by the World Health Organization (WHO) as pandemic is absolutely apt. Travel and Tourism industry is no exception. The World Travel and Tourism Council has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could cut 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry. It also depends on how long the epidemic lasts.
Tourism is currently one of the most affected sectors according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). These challenges are evolving on daily bases.
- 20- 30% fall is expected in the global tourist arrivals. Which means that between five and seven years’ worth of growth will be lost to COVID-19.
Travel bans and restricted movement for an unknown period is further jeopardizing the tourism industry.
- Around 850,000 people travel each month from Europe to the United States equivalent to a $3.4 billion monthly contribution to the U.S. economy.
- “Of the 50 million jobs that could be lost, around 30 million would be in Asia, seven million in Europe, five million in the Americas and the rest in other continents”, projected by the WTTC’s managing director Virginia Messina.
In 2019 the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that 10 countries earned the leading spots on the Top Competitive Countries in Travel and Tourism list: Spain, France, Germany, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Canada, and Switzerland. These countries have been popular not only for their dynamic cultural offerings, but also, for their natural resources, infrastructure, and ability to welcome relatively high numbers of tourists. So now is the time that these countries should respond sensibly and stop the higher influx of tourists. In a pre-coronavirus environment the excessive numbers of tourists might not be sustainable.
What Will Happen Next?
Now the questions seem to be: What will travel and tourism look like, and how will it influence the global economy, once the dust settles and being mobile is safe again? The travel and tourism industry has been a significant contributor to many global economies. Therefore unlike other business sectors, tourism will take a longer time to return to normalcy because tourists need to ensure that the situation is safe and secure before they travel again.
Significant crises like COVID-19 almost always fundamentally change and evolve the status quo. As a result, it’s not just a matter of getting the tourism industry’s engine restarted. Instead, the collective tourism stakeholder ecosystem must understand what has changed, and what will best position the industry to grow together and become a global force once again in the new normal. It will take time to get back to the routine. Ideally, as projected by the experts, it will take a year to get the travel and tourism industry back on track. As a tourist, I am hopeful that the people will explore and appreciate planet Earth more profoundly and sensibly in post COVID19 era.