UN: Massive tourism losses can cut global GDP by 2.8%

ANKARA – The massive drop in revenues from tourism, which accounted for 7 percent of global trade last year, could reduce global gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 2.8 percent in 2020, the UN secretary-general said Tuesday.

Citing latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said as many as 100 million direct tourism jobs are at risk.

“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,” he stressed.

Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic with restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand, leading to an unprecedented fall in international tourists’ numbers.

An essential pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals, tourism was the third-largest export category — after fuels and chemicals — in 2019, according to the UNWTO.

Tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors, providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people, boosting economies, and enabling countries to thrive, he said.

Last year, tourism generated 7 percent of global trade and employed one in every 10 people globally. The UNWTO data expected export revenues from tourism to fall by USD910 billion to USD1.2 trillion in 2020.

With 90 percent of World Heritage Sites having closed as a result of the pandemic, both tangible and intangible heritage is at risk in all parts of the world, the brief warned.

International tourist arrivals decreased by 56 percent and USD320 billion in exports from tourism were lost in the first five months of 2020 – more than three times the loss during the Global Economic Crisis of 2009, according to the UN tourism body. (Anadolu)

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