The massive drop in international travel during the first half of 2020 has led to a loss of 440 million international arrivals, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Russia Today reports.
The industry lost about $460 billion in export revenues from international tourism. “This is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis,” the UN agency said.
The report showed that international tourist arrivals dropped by 65 percent during the first half of the year as countries started to introduce travel restrictions and close borders in an effort to contain the coronavirus infection.
Asia and the Pacific, the first region to feel the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, was the hardest hit, with a 72 percent fall in tourists for the six-month period. Europe was the second hardest hit of all global regions, with a decline of 66 percent. The Americas (-55 percent), Africa and the Middle East (both -57 percent) have also suffered, said the report.
“The latest World Tourism Barometer shows the deep impact this pandemic is having on tourism, a sector upon which millions of people depend for their livelihoods. However, safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world, and it is imperative that governments work closely with the private sector to get global tourism moving again,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, adding: “Coordinated action is key.”
Almost 30 million cases of COVID infection have been registered globally so far, with over 939,000 deaths.