WTTC: More Than 197 Million Travel & Tourism Jobs Could Be Lost

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Gloria Guevara

More than 197 million jobs could be lost in the global travel and tourism sector if barriers to global travel -- such as blanket anti-travel advisories and quarantine measures -- remain in place, according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The figure comes from WTTC economic modelling, which looks at the impact faced by the travel and tourism sector amid local and global travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, according to a news release.

The report details three possible outcomes for the sector:

1. Worst-case scenario: Current restrictions start to ease from SEP for short-haul and regional travel; from OCT for mid-haul; and from NOV for long-haul.

In this scenario, 197.5 million jobs could be lost in the global Travel & Tourism sector, with a loss of US$5.5 billion in global GPD. Meanwhile, international arrivals would drop by 73% globally. 

2. Baseline scenario: Current restrictions start to ease from JUN for regional travel; JUL for short-haul or regional travel; from AUG for mid-haul; and from SEP for long-haul. 

In this scenario, a total of 121.1 million jobs could be lost in the global travel and tourism sector, with a loss of $3.4 billion in global GDP. Meanwhile, global visitor numbers would drop by 53% for international arrivals and by 34% for domestic arrivals.

3. Best-case scenario: Current measures start to ease from JUN for short-haul and regional travel; from JUL for mid-haul; and from AUG for long-haul.

In this scenario, a total of 98.2 million jobs could be lost in the travel and tourism sector, half the number in the worst-case scenario, with a loss of $2.7 billion in global GDP. Meanwhile, global visitor numbers would drop by 41% for international arrivals and by 26% for domestic arrivals.


Photo credit: WTTC.

“Unfortunately, our new modelling reveals the depth of the long-term impact facing the global travel and tourism industry if travel restrictions continue for an extended period of time," Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said.

“The sector’s recovery will be delayed by heavy-handed restrictions just as it emerges from one of the most punishing periods in its history – in addition to the airlines, the entire travel ecosystem will suffer including millions of SME’s.

“Hotels, destinations, travel agents and others will all be devastated by the economic domino effect of prolonged restrictions on movement, plunging millions of travel businesses and their employees into financial ruin.”

The WTTC says its "best-case scenario" can still be achieved if governments around the globe follow its recommended four-point plan, which involves removing quarantine measures and travels bans; adopting global health and safety protocols; implementing a rapid test and trace strategy; and allowing for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure a coordinated global approach to the crisis.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, travel and tourism supported one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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