A tour guide at Mardi Gras World
  • Nearly 200 million jobs in the travel industry could be lost worldwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new estimate by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
  • According to the travel industry group's economic modeling, the global GDP could lose more than R95 trillion.
  • The organisation blamed patchwork requirements and blanket travel bans for exacerbating the travel industry's pain, saying the lack of a unified, coordinated response is deterring people from taking trips.
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Nearly 200 million travel industry jobs could vanish as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a grim new forecast from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Travel demand has dropped globally during the pandemic, with every region seeing a collapse in tourism business. Tour operator TUI reported travel was down 81% in Europe from June through the beginning of August, compared to the same period in 2019, according to CNN.

While some people are less eager to travel because of fears over the virus, others who would be willing to venture — with precautions such as masks — are delaying trips because of the methods being used to control the pandemic, WTTC said, such as quarantines and blanket travel restrictions.

Economic models show that in addition to the loss of 197 million jobs, up to R95 trillion could be erased from the global GDP, according to WTTC. The group's outlook has worsened considerably since April, when it forecast the loss of 100 million jobs and the loss of R46 trillion to the global GDP.

According to WTTC, "the confusing patchwork of bans, quarantines and uncoordinated international testing and tracing measures, have deterred many people from travelling at all with the peak summer 2020 travel season all but being wiped out."

In a statement last week, the group's chief executive, Gloria Guevara, called on governments to coordinate to find a way to make it possible to resume some travel.

"Governments around the world must align their policies and work hand in hand with the private sector to revive Travel & Tourism, so we can restore jobs and help revive the global economy," Guevara said. "[W]e still have time to turn this around if we act together now as one and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage."

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