World leaders have been urged to enact “crucial measures to save the travel and tourism sector” as the industry struggles amid the coronavirus crisis.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) called on governments to prevent “a catastrophic collapse” of the sector – putting up to 75 million jobs at immediate risk.
G20 leaders will meet for a virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on Thursday (March 26) to discuss a global response to coronavirus.
The WTTC implored leaders to offer resources and coordinate efforts to rescue major travel businesses – such as airlines, cruises, hotels, GDS and technology companies – as well as SMEs, including travel agents, tour operators, restaurants, independent workers and the sector’s entire supply chain, in order to save the jobs of the 330 million people relying on tourism for their livelihoods.
WTTC said its Economic Impact Report for 2019 revealed the travel and tourism sector was responsible for generating one in four of all new jobs globally in 2019 and would therefore “have a crucial part to play in powering the global recovery” post-virus.
The sector supported one in 10 jobs (330 million), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating a quarter of all new jobs.
It also outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%.
The WTTC found Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with a growth rate of 5.5%, followed by the Middle East at 5.3%.
The US saw a growth rate of 3.4% and the EU 2.4%.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and chief executive, said coronavirus pandemic had put the travel and tourism sector in “unprecedented danger of collapse”, which was looking increasingly likely “unless a global rescue package is agreed to bolster what has become the backbone of the global economy”.
“It is therefore of paramount importance that the G20 take urgent action now to preserve the 75 million jobs at immediate risk, which would represent a crushing travel and tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US $2.1 trillion in 2020 alone,“ she said.
“A determined and decisive action by the G20 could reverse this, save millions from misery, and bolster one of the main engines of future economic growth.
“On behalf of millions of families and businesses, large and small around the world, we implore the G20 to take this vital step. We also recognise the efforts from all G20 countries in supporting a sector that alleviates poverty, provides opportunity, especially for women and the youth, and is an engine for growth.”