Global tourism revenues would fall by as much as $3.3 billion due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the U.S. sector would suffer the greatest losses, according to a U.N. study released Wednesday.
The report “COVID-19 and Tourism” released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is based on three scenarios for the industry, with containment measures lasting four months, eight months and 12 months.
Under these scenarios, revenues would fall by $1.17 trillion, $2.22 trillion and $3.3 trillion, respectively, or between 1.5% and 4.3% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
The report did not detail which scenario is more likely, although one UNCTAD official said the central scenario “could be a realistic one.
“International tourism has been almost totally suspended and local tourism has been reduced by the confinement conditions imposed in many countries,” the report said.
“Although some destinations have slowly begun to reopen, many are afraid to take international trips or cannot afford them because of the economic crisis.
The United States would suffer the greatest losses in all three scenarios, falling $187 billion if containment measures are extended for four months, followed by China with $105 billion. Thailand and France would also lose about $47 billion each.
Some small island states such as Jamaica will suffer large losses in proportion to their economies, facing a drop of 11% of GDP, or $1.68 billion.
The United States’ losses in the “pessimistic” scenario would be $538 billion, or 3% of GDP.
The UNCTAD report covers 65 countries and regions. It calls on governments to increase social protection for workers in the most affected countries.
Some of the estimates are comparable to those in an earlier UN World Tourism Organization report released in May, which showed that tourism figures could fall by 60% to 80%, compared to the UNCTAD average scenario of a 66% drop.