An unprecedented decline in international tourism caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cost the world $4 trillion (€3.4 trillion) in lost GDP for 2020 and 2021, according to a new report from the United Nations (UN).
International tourism and closely linked sectors suffered an estimated loss of $2.4 trillion (€2 trillion) in 2020 due to the steep drop in international tourist arrivals, according to a joint report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the UN World Tourism Organisation.
The report also estimates a similar loss will occur in 2021, as the tourism sector’s recovery is directly dependent upon the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines around the world.
With vaccination levels much higher in wealthy countries, the report highlights how tourism losses are worse in developing nations.
The main barriers are travel restrictions, slow containment of the virus, low traveller confidence and a poor economic environment.
Although a rebound in international tourism is expected in the second half of 2021, the report projects that a loss of between $1.7 trillion and $2.4 trillion this year is still on the cards.