Published on : Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Tourism-dependent rising economies that were already stressed before the pandemic with stretched finances and ballooning debt are now facing the brunt of their second successive summer season drop as with the corona virus keeping visitors away.
In the first five months of this year, global international arrivals were on average 85 per cent down compared to the pre-pandemic total of 540m in 2019, as per the UNWTO data. That is even worse compared to the same period last year, when arrivals were on average 65 per cent down year-on-year.
Asia-Pacific was especially impacted badly, with a 95 per cent drop in arrivals compared to the 2019 levels — mainly due to the continuing absence of Chinese travelers. In contrast, the return of the US tourists has eased the impact on the Caribbean.
Some economies encountered the pandemic in better shape than others and are better able to endure the storm. IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said, “diverging dangerously across and within countries, as economies with slower vaccine rollout, more limited policy support and more reliance on tourism do less well”.