The UN calculated global tourism losses from COVID-19

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The global tourism industry could lose $320 billion in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the UN World Tourism Organization (WCO), the United Nations specialized agency for tourism, said on Tuesday, July 28.

The number of tourists who travel to other countries decreased by 98% in May compared to the same period in 2019. In the first five months of this year, the figure fell by 56%, which led to a loss of income from international tourism by this amount. This is more than three times more than during the economic crisis in 2009.

“These latest figures clearly show the importance of resuming tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic decline in international tourism threatens many millions of people’s livelihoods, including in developing countries,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

There are now signs of a gradual resumption of international tourist arrivals, especially in the northern hemisphere of the Earth after the opening of the EU Schengen borders on July 1. However, the organization expects final recovery of the industry only by the second half of 2021.

Experts of the world organization point to a number of factors that negatively affect the recovery of international tourism. These are travel restrictions, closed borders in many countries, the possibility to get infected while traveling, the probable replication of the epidemic wave and new border closures. Travel is also constrained by concerns among the population about the lack of reliable information about the coronavirus and the worsening overall economic situation.

Earlier, on 27 March, the UNWTO reported that the number of international travels could drop by 20-30% this year compared to 2019 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was noted that this may lead to a decline in international tourism revenues by $300-450 billion, which is a third of last year’s figure, reaching $1.5 billion.