United States Could Lose $155 Billion on Missed International Tourism, Says WTTC

The United States economy could lose $155 billion due to the collapse of international travel during 2020, according to latest research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC says the massive decline in the number of international travelers and tourists visiting the U.S due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, could result in international visitor spending dropping by a staggering 79 percent. This loss to the American economy equates to a shortfall of $425 million a day, or nearly $3 billion a week, to the country’s economy.

WTTC and its members recently called upon President Donald Trump and the other leaders of the G7 countries, urging for a coordinated approach to be taken in leading the recovery response to the crisis. The harsh affect on U.S. travel and tourism is laid bare by WTTC as the economic fallout from coronavirus continues to burn its way through the sector. To that effect, nearly 12.1 million jobs in the U.S. supported by travel and tourism are at risk of being lost in a “worst case” scenario mapped out by WTTC economic modeling.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, travel and tourism was responsible for 16.8 million jobs in the US, or 10.7 percent of the country’s total workforce. It also generated $1.8 trillion, or 9 percent to the American economy.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, noted that the drop in visitors “could also threaten New York’s position as one of the world’s premier hubs for business and leisure travel.” Data for 2018, which is the most up-to-date available, shows how New York City is particularly dependent on international visitor spending compared to the U.S. as a whole. It accounted for 45 percent of all tourism spending in the city, with domestic tourists making up the remaining 55 percent.

The U.K. was the most important source market for the city with almost one in 10 of all international arrivals (9 percent), with China in second place with 8 percent, and Canada and Brazil in joint third place with 7 percent of arrivals. 

Guevara continued: “International coordination to reestablish transatlantic travel would provide a boost for the travel and tourism sector. It would benefit airlines and hotels, travel agents and tour operators and revitalize the millions of jobs in the supply chain which are dependent upon international travel across the Atlantic.

“We urgently need to replace blanket quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programs at departure points across the country. This investment will be significantly less than the impact of blunt quarantines which have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences. 

WTTC analysis of international travel spending in the U.S during 2019 reveals it reached $195.1 billion, accounting for 16 percent of the total tourism spend in the country. Domestic travel spending last year was responsible for the other 84 percent. Between 2016 and 2018, the largest inbound source markets to the U.S. were travelers from Canada and Mexico, accounting for 26 percent and 24 percent of all international arrivals, respectively, with the U.K. coming in third with 6 percent, and Japan in fourth place with 5 percent. 

Visit https://wttc.org.

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