COVID-19: Millions of tourism jobs could be lost

Industry body believes millions of jobs at risk

Empty airport as tourism jobs threatenedThe BBC report that the global coronavirus outbreak means millions of travel and tourism jobs are at risk, says a leading industry body.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) says up to 50 million jobs could be lost because of the pandemic. The organisation itself announced Wednesday that the 20th edition of its Global Summit, originally scheduled to take place in April, will be postponed and take place in early autumn. The event is planned for Cancun, Mexico.

Its chief executive, Gloria Guevara, said the outbreak “presents a significant threat to the industry”.

The news comes after thousands of international flights have been cancelled and some insurance firms suspended travel cover for new customers. The US travel ban has already led to the cancellation of 6,700 flights, representing a staggering two million seats

New figures from the WTTC suggest that the travel sector could shrink by up to 25% in 2020.

The trade body is calling on governments to take several steps to protect the industry, including:

  • Removing or simplifying visas where possible, as well as reducing costs
  • Relaxing “unnecessary barriers” at ports and airports
  • Reduce travellers’ taxes such as Air Passenger Duty
  • Increase budgets for promoting travel destinations.

But Ms Guevara added: “Travel and tourism has the strength to overcome this challenge and will emerge stronger”.

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