WTTC: 174 Million Travel & Tourism Jobs Could Be Lost Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

New figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveal that despite a slight improvement since June, 174 million travel and tourism jobs could be lost in 2020 if barriers to global travel remain in place. The new figure—released last week—comes from WTTC’s latest economic data, which looks at the effect of COVID-19, as well as local and global travel restrictions on the travel and tourism sector.

Down from the 197 million jobs as detailed in the previous study in June, WTTC says this positive gain is in most part driven by the return of domestic travel in countries such as China, which has shown a particularly strong recovery of its domestic market. It has also implemented a comprehensive testing and contact tracing program, alongside health and hygiene protocols, further contributing to this significant increase.

The analysis shows, however, that should current travel restrictions be removed sooner, globally, an additional 31 million jobs could be saved by the end of 2020. This equates to more than half a million jobs saved every day between now and the end of the year.

Prolonged travel restrictions could also eliminate $4.7 trillion in the sector’s contribution to global GDP, equating to a loss of 53 percent compared to 2019.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said in a press statement, “The sector’s recovery will be delayed even further, with more jobs lost, unless quarantines are replaced with rapid, cost-effective testing at airports on departure, and air corridors.”

Just a few weeks ago, G20 Tourism Ministers hosted more than 45 CEOs and members of WTTC who presented the “100 Million Jobs Recovery Plan” to save the already crippled travel and tourism sector. The plan, which hinged on securing strong international coordination to re-establish effective operations and restart international travel, included—among other health and safety protocols—eliminating quarantines and other travel barriers through the implementation of an international testing regime.

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