Photo Credit: Fas Khan
The latest figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) warns that nearly three million travel and tourism jobs will be lost in the UK due to the collapse of the travel industry.
Somewhat implausibly, this accounts for virtually every job in the sector across the country. WTTC stated that economic modeling conducted less than two months ago predicted this ‘worst-case scenario’ would occur if barriers to global travel, such as quarantine measures and blanket travel restrictions, were to remain in place.
Although some travel bans were removed, many others remain, and with new restrictions likely to come into force to tackle the continuing threat posed by Covid-19 and possible second spikes. However, many people have deterred from traveling at all during the peak summer 2002 travel season due to the confusing patchwork of bans, quarantines, and uncoordinated international testing and tracing measures.
WTTC figures estimate that the UK is close to losing a staggering $186 billion from the tourism sector’s contribution to UK GDP, equating to a 73% drop compared with 2019.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC chief executive, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see our worst fears for the UK and global tourism sector coming true. The jobs and livelihoods of millions of people who work throughout the sector are disappearing by the day, despite our warning, this could happen.”
“While we acknowledge the UK government’s efforts to support tourism during this crisis, the UK alone looks set to lose three million jobs in the sector, creating an economic black hole of US$186 billion in the country’s finances. This is due to an international failure to implement proper coordination to combat the pandemic.”
The WTTC figures from the Office for National Statistics state the unemployment rate in the UK is currently 3.9%. A total of 1.3 million people across all the sectors are currently out of work in the UK.
WTTC had urged governments to follow a four-point plan to avoid the ‘worst-case scenario’ it feared could take place. The plan recommended the immediate removal and replacement of travel bans and 14-day quarantine measures, with ‘air corridors’ to stimulate the sector and the wider economy. It also urged the adoption of global health and safety protocols to provide assurance to travelers and those working within the sector.
WTTC believes the implementation of a rapid test and trace strategy is a critical step to help contain the spread of the virus. This would still allow people to travel responsibly and encourage greater and sustained collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure a standardized, global approach to the crisis.
The WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report states that during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million in total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs