UNWTO affirms that these estimations are likely to change as the situation evolves.
Rabat – The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates a global decline of 1% to 3% in the international tourist arrivals in 2020, which translates to a loss of $30-50 billion of tourist spending, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
UNWTO posted the latest updates to its official website on March 5.
UNWTO is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.
The estimated loss stems from an assessment conducted by UNWTO amid cancellations and declines in the number of flights and travel restrictions that aim to tackle the pandemic.
The organization reported that the impacts from COVID-19 concern “both travel supply and demand, particularly in China, the world’s leading outbound market in spending, and other key Asian and European destinations such as Italy.”
Asia and the Pacific are expected to suffer the biggest losses, with a decrease of 9% to 12% in international tourist arrivals in 2020.
However, UNWTO affirms that its current estimates are likely to change as the situation evolves.
The global tourism industry has always been in continuous growth “despite the occasional shocks, demonstrating the sector’s strength and resilience” reported UNWTO.
“International tourism has only experienced declines in 2003 following SARS and the Iraq war and in 2009 amid the economic and financial crisis, with strong and rapid recovery the following years.”
China, the epicenter of COVID-19, is also the second-largest economy in the world, accounting for 16% of the global economy
Many countries have been financially impacted following the decline of China’s trade activity, including the US and Japan.
The alarming situation impacted not only the air traffic but also providers of tourist activities, including hotels, restaurants, and resorts.
In Morocco, the crisis cell at the Ministry of Tourism predicts the loss of at least 100,000 tourists in March alone, according to a Media24 report that quotes a source within the ministry.
Based on flight and hotel cancellations since Morocco confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Monday, March 2, both the crisis cell and the country’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc, predict a severe downturn in tourism.
“We were on an upward trend with very strong double-digit growth in bookings compared to 2019 and today, our activity is, unfortunately, almost falling back to stability compared to the previous year,” a source at RAM told Media24.
Morocco confirmed its sixth case of COVID-19 on March 11 and its first death the day before.
Moroccan health authorities announced that the country is in the first phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak as all confirmed patients contracted the virus abroad.
Worldwide, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 4,700, with the vast majority of fatalities in China. Globally, nearly more than 130,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19.