Global tourism lost about $935 billion in revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is more than 10 times the loss suffered in 2009 because of the global economic crisis, the tourism and aviation committee of the Egyptian Junior Businessmen Association estimated.
In its annual report on the performance of the tourism sector locally and internationally — released on Sunday — the committee noted that the number of international arrivals fell by 72 percent in the first ten months of 2020, a matter which led to the loss of 900 million international tourists between January and October of the year.
Mohamed Kaoud, the committee's head, said that the number of international arrivals is expected to have declined by 70 to 75 percent for the whole of 2020, with 1 billion fewer arrivals and a loss of some $1.1 trillion in international tourism receipts.
"This massive drop in tourism due to the pandemic could result in an economic loss of $2 trillion in the global GDP," Kaoud said.
Asia and the Pacific, the first region to suffer the impact of the pandemic, and the one with the highest level of travel restrictions to date, saw an 82 percent decrease in arrivals in the first ten months of 2020; the Middle East recorded a 73 percent decline, while Africa witnessed a 69 percent drop, according to the report.
Kaoud underscored the International Air Transport Association’s data, which showed that international air demand declined by 74 percent from January to October 2020, along with the decline in international tourist arrivals during the same period.
In addition, international passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, fell by about 88 percent year-on-year in October, a worse performance compared to previous months amid a spike in new COVID-19 cases, which have caused $85 billion in losses in the first 10 months of 2020.
According to official data, Egypt recorded 13 million international tourist arrivals in 2019, in 2020, however, it fell sharply by approximately 69.5 percent year to date (YTD).
This drop affected the country’s tourism sector’s revenues severely to fall by 67.2 percent in 2020 YTD, after achieving $13 billion in revenues in 2019.
Moreover, the UN World Tourism Organisation expected three scenarios for the sector’s recovery, expecting a rebound in international tourism by the second half of 2021.
The rebound is expected to continue in 2022, as travel conditions normalise, and the pandemic becomes more contained globally. However, international tourism could still take 2.5 to 4 years to return to 2019 levels.