World Tourism Organization: World tourism down by 70 percent

The World Tourism Organization announced Tuesday that the movement of international tourist delegations recorded a sharp decline of 70 percent in the world in the first eight months of the year compared to the previous year, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Madrid-based UN organization said that the two months of summer, which usually constitute an active tourist season in the northern hemisphere, were disastrous. They saw a decrease in the number of tourists by 81 percent in July compared to the same month last year, and 79 percent in August.

The organization notes in its statement that this collapse represents a 700 million decline in the number of tourists and losses amounting to 730 billion dollars for the global tourism sector, "more than eight times the losses recorded after the global financial crisis in 2009."

The Asia-Pacific region, which was the first region to hit the outbreak, is the worst affected (-79 percent), followed by Africa and the Middle East (-69 percent), Europe (-68 percent) and the American continent (-65 percent).

The decline in the delegations of vacationers to Europe was slightly weaker than in other regions of the world (-72 percent in July and -69 percent in August), but "the recovery was short-lived due to the imposition of new restrictions on travel due to the increase in the number of infections again,” According to the World Tourism Organization.

For the whole year 2020, the organization estimates that the number of travelers will decrease by 70 percent compared to last year, and it does not expect the number of tourists to increase before the end of the year 2021.

About 20 percent of the experts consulted by the organization expect that there will not be an actual recovery before "the year 2022.”

The organization explained that the decline in tourism is due to the slow containment of the virus and the absence of a coordinated response between different countries to establish common protocols, as well as the deterioration of the global economy.

In the year 2019, global tourism witnessed a growth of four percent. France was the first tourist destination, followed by Spain and the United States.

AFP- Haifaa Mafalani

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