The impact of the coronavirus health emergency on global tourism is expected to last throughout the year, according to a study released this week by the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship.
Global tourism will be hard hit throughout 2020 and perhaps beyond, even if the deadly virus is contained, OECD analysts note, adding that estimated international arrivals in 2020 are set to drop by 263 million or by up to 17.9 percent against 2019 figures.
The OECD report, which cites World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) data, says that global travel may be impacted by up to 25 percent in 2020, leading to the potential loss of up to 50 million sector-related jobs.
Small and medium sized businesses, which make up a large part of the tourism and travel industry, are faced with the biggest challenge as they have less resilience and flexibility to cope with the emerging costs of the health crisis, limited resources, and restricted access to capital.
Mostly impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak are holiday resorts, restaurants, business travel, culture and entertainment, tourist guide services, the short-term platform economy, and transport services providers including cruises, ferries, aviation, and railways.
According to the OECD, the implied coronavirus-related shock could amount to a 45-70 percent decline in the international tourism economy in 2020, depending on the duration of the crisis and the speed with which travel and tourism rebounds.
More specifically, and based on a baseline assumption that tourism flows will remain shut down up to June and on international tourism arrivals for the OECD area, analysts foresee the following two scenarios: if international tourism arrivals start to recover in July, and strengthen progressively in the second half of the year, then global tourism economy losses will come to around 45 percent.
In the second scenario however, the decline in the international tourism economy may reach 70 percent, if global tourism arrivals start to pick up in September, gaining ground progressively in the final quarter of the year.
OECD on Greece
Relying in large part on travel and tourism, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of all jobs, Greece immediately activated a Crisis Management Committee to respond to the crisis aiming to minimize the potential damage to the country’s reputation and visibility as well as to protect travelers and maintain trust, the OECD said.
The Greek tourism ministry also opened a communication hotline for tourism operators, businesses and market representatives to address emerging issues.