Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

United Nations Secretary-General highlights the scale of world tourism’s crisis

United Nations Secretary-General highlights the scale of world tourism’s crisis
August 26, 2020

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the Coronavirus pandemic puts as many as 100 million direct jobs in global tourism as risk.

Speaking overnight, and drawing on the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Secretary-General Guterres explained that the massive drop in export revenues from tourism could reduce global GDP by as much as 2.8% due to Coronavirus.

With tourism among the hardest hit of all industries by COVID-19 and no country having been unaffected, restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand leading to an unprecedented fall in international tourist numbers.

The Tourism and COVID-19 Policy Brief from the UNWTO makes clear the impact that the pandemic has had on global tourism and how this affects everything from jobs and economies to wildlife conservation and the protection of cultural heritage.

The Brief stresses that tourism is an essential pillar of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that the current crisis places the most vulnerable workers and nations at greatest risk.

Stating that “it is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector” in a “safe, equitable and climate friendly” manner and so “ensure tourism regains its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage”, Secretary-General Guterres underscored that tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors, providing “livelihoods to hundreds of millions more”, while it “boosts economies and enables countries to thrive”, and at the same time allowing “people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity”.

The Brief notes that international tourist numbers could decline by -58% to -78% year-on-year in 2020, and visitor spending from US$1.5 trillion in 2019 to between US$310 billion and US$570 billion.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres explains the potential scenarios for tourism revenues, with the expected full-year decline placing 100 million jobs at risk in the sector.

The Brief also shows that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developing Countries (LDCs), including many African nations, are most vulnerable due to their reliance on tourism for jobs and economic growth.

Wording in the Brief advises “no country has escaped the decimation of its tourism sector, from Italy where tourism accounts for 6% of the country’s GDP to Palau where it generates almost 90% of all exports. This crisis is a major shock for developed economies and an emergency for the most vulnerable people and developing countries. In Africa, the sector represented 10% of all exports in 2019.”

The Policy Brief outlined five priorities for the restart of tourism, aimed at ensuring a more resilient, inclusive and carbon neutral sector. These priorities are:

• Mitigate socio-economic impacts on livelihoods, particularly women’s employment and economic security.
• Boost competitiveness and build resilience, including through economic diversification and encouragement of MSMEs.
• Advance innovation and digital transformation of tourism
• Foster sustainability and green growth
• Enhanced focus on coordination, and responsible leadership.

Image: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

16th August 2020 - WTTC calls for leadership from Australian Government to save tourism

9th June 2020 - Global tourist destinations sign up to the WTTC  global safety and hygiene stamp

28th May 2020 - WTTC launches world’s first global safety stamp

13th May 2020 - UNWTO says international tourism faces worst crisis since records began

1st May 2020 - WTTC outlines ‘the new normal’ when travelling resumes

28th April 2020 - PATA anticipates 32% fall in Asia Pacific visitor numbers through 2020 but predicts resurgence in 2021

23rd April 2020 - WTTC calls on G20 leaders to coordinate recovery for the tourism industry

17th April 2020 - WTTC commends global tourism industry for helping during COVID-19

15th April 2020 - Nature key to New Zealand’s post Coronavirus recovery

17th March 2020 - Coronavirus impact puts up to 50 million jobs at risk across global tourism

23rd January 2020 - Global tourism initiative to combat plastic pollution

22nd March 2020 - United Nations warn that poor water infrastructure is greater risk than Coronavirus

18th December 2019 - Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition looks to help sector meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

6th June 2019 - Tennis Australia commits to United Nations climate change action

23rd April 2019 - Former United Nations Secretary General to open SportAccord Gold Coast Summit

26th November 2018 - UNWTO report shows Thailand leads Asia in incoming international visitor spending

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

23rd October 2017 - WAZA and United Nations team up to combat environmental issues

3rd February 2017 - UNESCO and UNWTO combine to launch 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism

8th May 2011 - ‘Million-dollar sharks’ boost Palau tourism