The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has penned an open letter imploring every government to take action and save the industry.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC’s president and chief executive, says the tourism industry is in “uncharted territory” during the coronavirus outbreak.
WTTC figures suggest the sector makes up 10.4% of Global GDP and is responsible for 320 million jobs – 50 million of which are at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “WTTC is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector.
“Not soon. Not in a few weeks. NOW. Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide.”
The WTTC has asked for governments to extend financial help, offer unlimited interest-free loans and give 12-month tax holidays to travel companies.
“We are calling upon the world to take urgent and immediate action to prevent this global health crisis becoming a worldwide economic catastrophe. Doing nothing is not an option,” said Guevara.
“We implore every government to take drastic and decisive action now to preserve and protect the contribution of the travel and tourism sector, on which more than 320 million people and their families depend on for their livelihoods.”
This comes as prime minister Boris Johnson has advised everyone in the UK against non-essential travel abroad for 30 days.