Covid Tourism Freeze Could Cost Global Economy $ 4 Billion By Year End | Travel & Leisure

The cost to the global economy of the tourism freeze caused by Covid-19 could reach $ 4 billion (£ 2.9 billion) by the end of this year, a United Nations body has said, with the variable pace of vaccine deployments at cost to developing countries and tourists. particularly expensive centers.

Countries including Turkey and Ecuador will be among the hardest hit by severe disruptions to international tourism, with holiday favorites like Spain, Greece and Portugal also hit hard. Losses from the pandemic have reached as much as $ 2.4 billion this year alone, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The potential loss of tourism-related income in 2021 alone is equivalent to the effect of cutting the UK economy by 85%, while the losses projected to 2020 and 2021 could amount to pulling Germany out of the economy. global for two years.

UNCTAD said developing countries were likely to suffer the most this year, with countries heavily dependent on tourism such as Spain, Greece and Portugal benefiting from rapid vaccine rollouts in stronger economies.

Countries that rely on the tourism sector for their economic output but are sensitive to issues such as slow vaccine rollouts could see their economies shrink by nearly a tenth, the report said.

The variation in vaccine deployment is causing a significant difference in how UNCTAD thinks countries around the world might be affected.

The report’s worst prediction is based on tourist figures mimicking 2020, when they were down 74% on average from 2019, a reduction equivalent to 1 billion passenger arrivals and worse than the Unctad had planned.

His best-case scenario for 2021 assumes that countries with low immunization rates see no improvement, but those with high immunization rates see a much smaller reduction of 37% from a normal year.

Turkey will be the hardest hit in both scenarios, according to UNCTAD, with its economy contracting 7.8% at best and 9.1% at worst.

The report points out that tourism accounts for around 5% of the country’s economic output, and the number of tourists who visited last year fell by 69%.

Ecuador’s GDP is expected to drop 9% in the worst case and 7.5% at best, while South Africa is expected to be the third most affected, going from 8.1% to 6.9% .

European holiday favorites like Spain, Portugal and Greece could see their GDP fall by 7%, 8% and 8% respectively.

In Unctad’s worst-case scenario, Ireland is set to take the fourth biggest hit, while the UK is eighth, despite the rapid rollout of vaccines.

But the UK would perform much better than the rest of the world in the most optimistic projections, due to the large proportion of the population who received both doses of a vaccine.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization, said: “Tourism is a lifeline for millions of people, and advancing immunization to protect communities and support the safe restart tourism is essential for the recovery of jobs and the generation of much-needed resources, especially in developing countries, many of which depend heavily on international tourism.

Salinas, Ecuador. The country’s GDP is expected to drop 9% in the worst-case scenario. Photograph: MarcPo / Getty

On a regional basis, Central America is expected to suffer the most, with GDP dropping as much as 11.9%, followed by East Africa with 9.3% and Southeast Asia. with a drop of 8.4%.

Unctad’s assessment is based on the direct impact of lost income on tourist sites such as hotels and restaurants, as well as the ripple effect that spills over to the sectors that provide tourism. , such as food, beverage, retail, communications and transportation.

“The world needs a global vaccination effort that will protect workers, mitigate negative social impacts and make strategic decisions regarding tourism, taking into account potential structural changes,” said the Acting Secretary-General of the Unctad, Isabelle Durant.

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