The World Tourism Organization announced, Thursday, that the year 2020 was “the worst in the history of tourism”, as the global tourism sector lost $ 1.3 billion during it, due to restrictions imposed on movement to stop the spread of the coronavirus
According to a statement issued by the Madrid-based United Nations agency in charge of tourism, this figure represents “11 times more losses than those recorded during the global economic crisis in 2009, and translated into a 74 percent decline in the flow of tourists in the world compared to 2019.”
The organization declared that “2020 was the worst year in the history of tourism”, with the number of tourists in the world falling by one billion people compared to 2019.
It is noteworthy that during the crisis in 2008-2009, the number of tourists decreased by only 4 percent.
According to experts in the organization, 100 to 120 million jobs in the tourism sector are threatened, especially in small and medium-sized companies, according to Agence France-Presse.
The World Tourism Organization indicated that “the prospects for improving tourism in the world in 2021 are declining,” considering that “global tourism will need two and a half to four years to return to 2019 levels.”
“We are fully aware that the crisis will not end soon,” the statement quoted the organization’s Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikshvili, as saying.
He added, “Coordinating and digitizing measures to reduce risks associated with COVID-19 in terms of travel, especially infection detection checks, tracing the infected and vaccination certificates, are essential to promoting safe travel and preparing for tourism recovery when circumstances permit.”
Asia-Pacific is the region with the largest decline in the number of tourists in 2020 (-84 percent within a year) because it was the first to be affected by the epidemic and is still currently imposing the most stringent travel restrictions.
As for Europe, the decline was recorded at 70% within a year, but the continent witnessed “the largest decline in terms of numbers”, as it lost 500 million visitors.
The Middle East and Africa region decreased by 75 percent, and the Americas decreased by 69 percent.