The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $1.3 trillion (€1 trillion) in lost revenue in 2020 as the number of people travelling plunged, the UN said Thursday, calling it "the worst year in tourism history".
According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the pandemic has set the global travel industry back 30 years.
International arrivals dropped by 74 per cent and tourism destinations across the world saw 1 billion fewer arrivals of people than in the previous year 2019.
The World Tourism Organisation based in Madrid in their statement also mentioned that between 100 to 120 million, direct tourism jobs were at risk since the revenue lost in 2020 mounted to more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis.
Many of the countries are further making their travel restrictions, quarantine and mandatory testing stringent in the wake of the emerging new strains of Coronavirus that is said to have a higher transmission rate. However, the gradual rollout of vaccines is expected to ease the travel restrictions in the countries with time.
"While much has been made in making safe international travel a possibility, we are aware that the crisis is far from over. The harmonization, coordination and digitalization of Covid-19 related risk reduction measures including testing, tracing and vaccination certificates, are essential foundations to promote safe travel and prepare for the recovery of tourism once conditions allow", said WTO head Zurab Pololikashvili in the statement.
In 2019, international travel arrivals had increased by 4 per cent to become 1.5 billion and France topped the list of the most visited country followed by Spain and the United States. According to the WTO, most experts do not see a return to a pre-pandemic situation and level of tourism taking place before 2023.