Tourism in times of COVID-19

The pandemic of coronavirus is having a hard impact on the global economy and all industries. Lockdown measures introduced in many countries forced thousands enterprises to close their activity, numerous workers have lost their jobs and source of income. Travel and tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the crisis, as severe restrictions prevent people from travelling not only internationally but also within their own countries. Despite the gradual lifting of travel restrictions, this year many tourists will cancel their holiday plans for safety reasons.

Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the global travel and tourism industry

According to the estimations of the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council), the global travel and tourism GDP will decrease of about 30 percent (2.7 trillion USD) and will cause loss of about 100.8 million of jobs¹. The global pandemic strongly affected all sectors of travel and tourism activities. Hotels, restaurants, museums and tourist attractions have been closed for many weeks, whereas cultural events and industry fairs have been cancelled or postponed. Until 30 June 2020, roughly 4.5 million flights have been cancelled², causing a huge loss for the airline industry. As a consequence, also numerous airports were forced to suspend temporarily their activity.

Tourism in the European Union

In times of the covid-19 pandemic, the EU countries have restored border controls and banned entry of foreign nationals to their territories. According to data published by the European Parliament, the estimated loss of the European tourism industry in the period of coronavirus reaches about 1 billion euro per month³. Many countries, where tourism plays a significant role, like Italy, France or Spain, are particularly hit by the crisis. The Italian Tourism Federation Assoturismo forecasts, that in 2020 in Italy the presence of tourists will drop by about 60 percent in comparison with the previous year⁴. In the fourth most-visited country in the world, where tourism generates indirectly about 13 percent of the GDP⁵ and employs more than three million people, the crisis will have a long-term impact on the economy.

Future of the European tourism

Despite the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and border controls, travel and tourism industry will continue to face a hard time in the upcoming months. It is predicted that this year many tourists will opt for holidays in their home country instead of spending vacation abroad; it will have a significant impact on countries which are popular holiday destinations. In order to help the European countries to coordinate the lifting of travel restrictions, the European Commission has published ten recommendations to travel safely during coronavirus times. The recommendations can be found on:

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20200520STO79501/coronavirus-practical-advice-for-safe-travel

Sources

1.https://wttc.org/Research/Economic-Impact/moduleId/1227/itemId/68/controller/DownloadRequest/action/QuickDownload

2. https://www.iata.org/

3. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2020/649368/EPRS_ATA(2020)649368_EN.pdf

4. http://www.assoturismo.it/assoturismo-cst-nel-2020-si-perderanno-oltre-260-milioni-di-presenze-turistiche-60-ripresa-solo-nel-2021-forse.html

5. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turismo_in_Italia

6. https://www.unescap.org/blog/future-tourism-post-covid-19