Global impact of COVID-19 in the tourism & hospitality sector

Abir Hasan | Published: 21:50, Jun 03,2020


Abir Hasan talks about the impacts of The COVID-19 on the world tourism and hospitality industry

THE financial impact of COVID-19 varies from industry to industry. Some business sectors are still in the peak; on the other hand, some are facing devastating situations. Many business industries have been experiencing the outbreak of novel coronavirus globally since the beginning of this year. One of the hardest financial effects of this virus can be observed in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Gradually a lot of professionals, related to this industry are losing their jobs globally and anyone can easily assume the impact of this pandemic will have a long lasting duration in the global market of tourism as many other industries. This pandemic will surely transform the tourism and hospitality industry once it restarts. 

Impact on travel destinations
SINCE the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, the world is halted for the last few months. Because of this outbreak, traveling from one country to another has been prohibited in most of the cases. Following this emergency situation most of the popular tourist destinations are kept closed. 

To follow the required precautionary health measurements, maximum countries are in an emergency lockdown situation, the amount of national as well as international tourists is almost zero.

Out of the top 10 visited destinations by international tourist’s arrivals, France, Spain, United States, China, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, UK and Thailand, eight of those are hardest hit by COVID-19, implying that the economic shock on tourism will prevail further in these countries.

According to the latest estimates, Asia will see the highest fall in travel and tourism revenue in 2020.

Impact on aviation industry
THE COVID-19 came and changed our way of our life, at least for the time being. Once a busy airport with a lot of tourists turned into a ghostly place now. From the last few decades the annual growth from the international aviation industry was 12.1 per cent in the Asian subcontinent, all over the world it was 4.2 per cent in 2019. 

This year the world is expecting 20 to 30 per cent less tourists if we compare with the figure of 2019. However, there is a huge contribution of national and international visitors to provide income to the public and private sector related to the transport and aviation sector.

Impact on tourism economy
BEFORE the outbreak, the contribution of the tourism industry in the global GDP is around USD 2.9 trillion. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the whole tourism sector is expecting USD 2.1 trillion financial losses this year.

According to a recent survey from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism of the global and private sector may go down up to 25 per cent in 2020. 

PATA, Pacific Asia Travelers Association, Bangladesh chapter, declared till May 2020, the world has already faced a loss of USD 97.05 billion. 

Impact on employment
IN SHORT, tourism and hospitality jobs create employment in accommodation, food and beverage, every mode of passenger transport, travel agencies and other reservation services activities targeted towards tourists, as well as cultural activities, sports and recreational activities. It includes jobs in the formal as well as in the informal sector.

The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts that up to 75 million jobs are at risk in the sector. For the Asian subcontinent this rate is close to almost 30 million, nearly half of the whole.

Potential impact:
THOUGH the pandemic has brought the global economy at standstill but it has some positive impacts on the whole ecosystem too. Influx of tourists to a certain place negatively impact the local population as well as the environment, these impacts include overcrowding, pollution, rapid infrastructural development et cetera.

In many cities now the residents can experience clear sky after decades and the nature is getting back its normal characteristics that has been lost for tourist activities.

Besides, pollution level of popular tourist destinations such as sea beach, hill tracts, forests et cetera are at record low.

The tourism industry across the world is going to face a big disaster and this disastrous situation which will continue even after if the vaccine of COVID-19 is invented. Previously this sector had also faced various difficulties.

To overcome this situation everybody involved in the tourism industry as well as the government should work together to lessen the adverse economic impacts.

Abir Hasan is a student of University of Dhaka.

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