Tourism Industry To Lose Over $1 Trillion And Can Reduce Global GDP By Up to 2.8%

International tourism numbers could drop by 58% to 78% in 2020. According to the research data analyzed and gathered by, it would lead to a loss of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in tourism exports which amounted to $1.5 trillion in 2019.

Based on a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, the tourism industry’s woes will cause a loss of 1.5% to 2.8% on global GDP. It would translate to a $1.17 trillion to $2.22 trillion loss for the global economy.

$730 Billion Lost in Tourism Exports from January to August 2020

Tourism is ranked as the third largest export sector in the global economy. It accounts for over 30% of exports for many of the small island developing states (SIDS).

For some islands like St. Lucia, the figure is actually 90%. In 2019, tourism accounted for 10% of all exports in Africa. Worldwide, it generated 7% of all trade and employed 1 in 10 people. Moreover, there were 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals and 8.8 billion domestic arrivals in 2019.

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On the other hand, between January and August 2020, the number of international tourist arrivals dropped by 70% according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It resulted in a $730 billion loss for tourism exports. This was eight times the losses experienced throughout the 2009 global financial crisis. APAC led the way with a 79% drop while Africa and EMEA shed 69% each.

During the first four months of 2020, the US saw the highest loss in tourism revenue, losing $30.71 billion. Countries in Europe accounted for 50% of the top 10 regions that suffered the highest revenue losses. Meanwhile, the Caribbean made up 50% of the top 10 countries that had the highest GDP losses during the period.

China’s domestic tourism sector is projected to suffer a 52% decline in 2020 based on a study by the China Tourism Academy. A report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) stated that Italy could lose up to €36.7 billion from travel and tourism in 2020.

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