2020 worst year in tourism history: UNWTO

By ZBC Reporter

THE United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has described 2020 as the worst year in tourism history with the African continent registering a 75% drop in international arrivals due to the devastating impact of COVID-19.

According to the latest figures from UNWTO, Global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with destinations worldwide welcoming 1 billion fewer international arrivals than those received in 2019,

The UN agency revealed that the collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of 1.3 trillion United States dollars.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) member, Mrs Susan Makanza stressed that the unprecedented fall in demand, depressed revenue and widespread travel restrictions experienced in 2020 brought the once-thriving industry to a halt.

Indeed 2020 has been the worst year in the history of tourism as we didn’t get much in terms of arrivals and revenue. We were hoping that 2021 there would be a better year, but as things stand, we cannot expect much hence we are cautiously optimistic, she said.

The 2020 world Tourism Barometer released by the UNWTO also shows that between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs were put at risk.

UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili is convinced that the crisis is far from over and has warned that 2021 might be a difficult year.

While much has been made in making safe international travel a possibility, we are aware that the crisis is far from over. The harmonisation, coordination and digitalisation of COVID-19 travel-related risk reduction measures, including testing, tracing and vaccination certificates, are essential foundations to promote safe travel and prepare for recovery of the tourism once conditions allow, said Pololikashvili.

UNWTO Panel of Experts survey shows a mixed outlook for 2021 with 50% of respondents expecting a rebound to occur only in 2022, while the other half of respondents still see a potential rebound of tourism in 2021.

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