Published on : Friday, May 14, 2021
Fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 and travel restrictions are discouraging tourists from visiting Thailand’s beaches and Turkey’s bazaars, obstructing a recovery in tourism, which is a crucial source of foreign currency, employing many in emerging markets.
Global tourism suffered its worst year ever in 2020 with the sector declining in value by an estimated $4.5 trillion due to the pandemic, as per WTTC figures. The scale of recovery in 2021 is still uncertain.
With one in three countries and territories worldwide closed to tourism, key sources of tourists like Britain restricting foreign travel to most countries and fresh virus cases in popular destinations like Thailand, the prospects look bleak.
The UNWTO has opined that tourism could revive in either July or September; however, arrivals would still be less than half of 2019 levels.
Emerging economies that are usually more dependent on tourism than their developed peers are most susceptible to the situation.
Tunisia and Egypt have vaccinated less than 5% of their populations, compared to the rates of 20-30% across the Mediterranean in Greece, Italy and Spain.
Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Sri Lanka are among the most vulnerable, with all four largely tourism dependent.
Up to 62 million tourism jobs were lost across the world in 2020, estimates the WTTC.