The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Tuesday said the United Kingdom is heading towards the ‘worst case scenario’, threatening nearly three million travel and tourism jobs in the country.
The WTTC economic modelling conducted less than two months ago predicted that the ‘worst case scenario’ – that sees massive job losses – would occur if barriers to global travel, such as quarantine measures and blanket travel restrictions were to remain in place.
According to the WTTC, while some travel bans have been removed, many others remain, with new restrictions likely to come into force to tackle the continuing threat posed by coronavirus (Covid-19) and possible second spikes.
“Nearly three million jobs in the UK – and 197 million worldwide in the Travel & Tourism sector globally – look set to be lost due to the collapse of travel,” the WTTC said.
The WTTC underlined that the confusing patchwork of bans, quarantines and uncoordinated international testing and tracing measures, have deterred many people from travelling at all with the peak summer 2020 travel season all but being wiped out.
Last week travel to Spain was thrown into chaos when the UK government changed its travel advice to re-impose a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving back in the UK. This countrywide ‘travel ban’ came despite parts of Spain, such as Andalucia, the Balearics and Canaries having a lower COVID-19 infection rate than the UK.
The WTTC estimates the UK now looks close to losing a staggering $186 billion from the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to UK GDP, equating to a 73 percent drop compared with 2019.
“This is due to an international failure to implement proper coordination to combat the pandemic,” WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said.
Guevara highlighted that there is still time to turn the situation around if “we act together now as one” and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage.
According to the WTTC, only those who test positive should be quarantined.
“This would protect public health and save lives, whilst restoring consumer confidence, driving the global economic recovery, and saving the jobs of millions of people whose very livelihoods depend upon a thriving Travel & Tourism sector,” the WTTC said.