Global tourism set to lose $ 2 trillion in 2021

Global tourism is expected to lose $ 2 trillion in 2021

MISE & Agrave; DAY

The global tourism sector is expected to lose another 2 trillion dollars this year under the effects of restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Monday the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which judges the recovery of “slow” and “fragile” activity. & nbsp;

This estimate, similar to the losses suffered in 2020, comes as new restrictions have been taken, in particular in Europe, to deal with a new wave of the epidemic and that the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, is spreading around the world.

These latest developments show that “the situation is completely unpredictable” and that the tourism sector is not immune to hazards likely to cause “enormous economic damage”, the secretary general of OMT Zurab Pololikashvili.

According to the UN agency, which will hold its General Assembly in Madrid from Tuesday until December 3, international tourist arrivals should thus remain this year “of 70 75% lower ”than before the pandemic.

The tourism sector, one of the most affected by the consequences of COVID-19, is expected to suffer further pharaonic losses, estimated at 2,000 billion dollars, or 1,780 billion euros), a level identical to that of 2020.

“The crisis in the tourism sector is historic, but tourism has the capacity to recover quickly”, however, qualifies Zurab Pololikashvili, saying that he “hopes that 2022 will be a much better year than 2021 “.

” Uneven rhythm “

According to the barometer published by the UN agency, international tourist arrivals have “rebounded during the summer season”, suggesting an improvement after a sluggish start to the year, thanks to “the rapid progression of vaccinations”.

Despite everything, “the pace of recovery remains uneven depending on the region of the world”, insists in a press release the UNWTO, which attributes this heterogeneous situation to “varying degrees of restrictions on mobility, vaccination rates and traveler confidence ”.

During the third quarter, some Caribbean islands as well as several southern European and Mediterranean destinations recorded “arrivals close (…), even sometimes higher” than 2019 levels, underlines the Madrid-based organization.

Other countries, on the other hand, have received virtually no tourists, particularly in Asia and the Pacific region, where many states still currently ban “non-essential” travel.

According to the UNWTO, 46 countries remain at this stage completely closed to tourists, or one in five destinations, and 55 are partially so. Conversely, four countries have lifted all restrictions: Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

This situation creates “confusion” and weighs on the restart of the activity, judges the UN agency, which calls on countries to “harmonize” their protocols by taking advantage of progress related to “vaccination” and new “digital applications”.

Due to the uncertainties hanging over the evolution of the epidemic, the UNWTO does not at this stage give an estimate of the number of tourists who could go abroad in 2022. But it warns that the recovery will be ” slow “and” fragile “. & nbsp;

” Unequal vaccination rates “and” new strains of Covid-19 “, including the Omicron variant, could slow down this” recovery “, underlines the organization , who also fears the effects of “the recent surge in oil prices” on travel.

Faced with these obstacles, only a “coordinated response” from countries will “restore consumer confidence” , concludes the UNWTO, which is scheduled to discuss these issues at its General Assembly in the Spanish capital.

This meeting, which will be attended by representatives of the 159 Member States, was originally intended to have held in Marrakech, Morocco. But that country has given up on hosting the event due to the upsurge in Covid-19 cases in many countries.

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