A WOMAN GETS AS CLOSE TO THE BEACH AS POSSIBLE ALONG A SHUTTERED COASTLINE IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA, ON MARCH 31, AS MORE TOURISM LOCATIONS CLOSE TO STEM THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS.
As the coronavirus pandemic keeps billions of people at home, one sector is undergoing an immediate crisis: tourism.
According to the nonprofit World Travel and Tourism Council, which represents the international tourism industry, travel and tourism contributed $8.8 trillion to the global economy in 2018 and was responsible for 10.4 percent of all economic activity. The council estimates that travel and tourism are responsible for 319 million jobs around the world.
With governments locking down their borders and people around the world staying home for weeks to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, several companies are struggling to survive. At least three regional airlines have filed for bankruptcy in the United States and United Kingdom. To stave off collapse, U.S. carriers have accepted $58 billion in loans and payroll grants as part of the U.S. government’s stimulus package. The pandemic has caused bankruptcies in the cruise industry too, and cruises’ reputation for hassle-free travel has surely taken a hit.
Which countries stand to lose the most? In the chart below of the world’s 20 biggest economies, Thailand and the Philippines rely on tourism for more than a fifth of their GDP. Two of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus outbreak, Spain and Italy, also depend heavily on this sector. The country that relies on tourism the least—South Korea—is also handling its outbreak the best.