First modification: 06/30/2021 – 19:55
International tourism and the sectors that depend on it suffered an estimated loss of USD 2.4 trillion in 2020 alone and the United Nations estimates that in 2021 the figure could reach similar levels.
Not even the most pessimistic of the United Nations analysis expected that, between 2020 and 2021, global tourism losses would exceed 4 trillion dollars due to the Covid-19 pandemic, since the maximum prediction was 3.3 trillion. 15 months after the declaration of a pandemic, the picture does not look better.
For international tourism to return to the same as it was before the global emergency hit the planet could happen, at best, in 2023, if not later. This is calculated by the United Nations in its most recent report, presented this Wednesday, June 30.
To the direct and indirect impact of the sharp decline in international tourist arrivals in 2020 by about 2.4 trillion dollars, another could be added by between 1.7 trillion dollars and 2.4 trillion dollars in 2021, despite the gradual reopening of tourism.
The figure represents between 1.9% and 2.7% of the world Gross Domestic Product, according to the report of the United Nations Agency for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Tourism Organization (ILO) .
Another consequence has to do with employment. Estimates suggest that between 100 million and 120 million jobs related to the tourism sector remain threatened.
In effect, the pandemic drastically cut international arrivals, not only because of country restrictions, but because consumers have chosen to reduce their trips. So far since the health crisis, the number of international tourist arrivals has decreased by 74%.
This reduction in tourist arrivals has led to an average increase of more than five percentage points in unemployment of unskilled labor, but the impact can be up to ten points more in countries that depend on tourism.
The most affected regions are Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, North Africa and South Asia, while those that have felt the crisis least are North America, Western Europe and the Caribbean.
Latin American tourism will maintain its losses
The fact that the vaccination campaign began several months ago in much of the world does not guarantee that tourism will return to pre-pandemic levels, nor that in 2021 the sector will not register losses. And Latin America is not progressing at the same rate as other regions in terms of immunization.
The United Nations report notes that tourism in Latin American countries will continue to suffer losses in 2021, as it expects that only nations with high levels of vaccination can attract travelers and achieve a moderate recovery.
This year, the decrease in tourism could mean falls of up to 9% of Ecuador’s GDP, as well as 2.4% in the case of Argentina or 2.3% in Colombia, a more dramatic effect than the average global, calculated between 1.9% and 2.7% of world GDP.
The research concludes that the recovery of the tourism sector will largely depend on the application of vaccines worldwide, but due to the uneven distribution, it will be the least developed countries that suffer the worst consequences.
With AFP, Reuters and AP