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40 million tourism jobs at risk in China, India and the US as global tourism revenues evaporate

40 million tourism jobs at risk in China, India and the US as global tourism revenues evaporate

Corona lockdowns have had a huge impact on the global travel and tourism industry as one country after the other imposed lockdown regulations leading to thousands of cancelled flights and cruises, closed hotels, museums, theme parks, and restaurants.

This pandemic is expected to cause an enormous employment loss in the global travel and tourism industry, throwing more than 100 million people out of work. The three hardest hit countries, China, India, and the United States could lose almost 40 million jobs, according to data gathered by LearnBonds.

The effect on grassroots employment is expected to most severe in China where up to 90% of tourism-related jobs are at peril.

Travel and tourism are a significant part of the global economy, with market values counted in trillions of dollars. In 2019, the markets accounted for 10.4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 10% of jobs. But the corona virus changed that in just a few months.

With governments and health officials confining people to their homes, for the first time in history the global travel and tourism industry completely stopped. Companies operating in these markets have taken a huge financial hit, forcing them to cut expenses and workers. World Travel and Tourism Council data reveals how dramatic these consequences may be.

As the most-affected region in the world, Asia could lose up to 63.4 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector. Europe ranked second with 13 million potential losses. North America, Africa, and Latin America follow with 8.2 million, 7.6 million and 4.7 million, respectively. Current statistics show that the Middle East and the Caribbean are forecast to face the lowest employment loss, with 2.6 million and 1.2 million lost workers.

China’s travel and tourism industry is set to lose far the most employees. Before the corona virus outbreak, China counted more than 29 million jobs across the two sectors. However, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that the country could lose 25.6 million jobs or nearly 90% of all employment in the sector. The domestic tourism revenue in the country was estimated to drop by 69% in the first quarter of 2020 with an anticipated total decline of 20.6% for the full year 2020.

Statista data showed that between 20 January and 30 March, more than 52 million scheduled airline seats were affected by the pandemic. Moreover, China’s flight ticket transactions, comprising domestic, inbound, and outbound travel, registered the most significant loss with a 60% drop in the week of 22 to 29 April, compared to the same week a year ago.

With a potential loss of 9 million jobs or one-third of the total number of workplaces in 2019, India ranked as the second most-affected country in the world.

As one of the largest tourism markets globally, the United States is also expected to witness a colossal employment loss. In 2019, the country had more than 5,9 million people working in the travel and tourism industry. However, this number is expected to plummet by 80%, with more than 4.7 million jobs at risk.

The US Travel Association has warned the corona virus outbreak is set to hit the travel industry six or seven times harder than the 9/11 attacks. All of the largest airline companies in the country in recent weeks reported their first-quarter losses in years, with their shares suffering broad sell-offs across stock markets.

Although they had reached a deal to secure a slice of the US$25 billion package from the US Treasury, at this point there is little prospect of a market recovery any time soon. Moreover, the BCG survey conducted in April showed over 62% of Americans plan to cut their travel spending over the next six months.

Worldwide, the World Travel and Tourism Council data shows that the total GDP loss would account for more than US$2.6 trillion by the end of the year.


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