January 20, 2021 | tourism

More than 100 million global tourism jobs set to return this year, industry body says

In the 'best scenario', employment numbers will still be 17% lower than in 2019, meaning 54 million lost jobs

More than 100 million jobs could return to the global travel and tourism industry this year as people look to holidays again as Covid-19 vaccines are distributed, the industry's trade body said.

A recovery in tourism is expected from March, with many major travel companies already reporting a significant rise in forward bookings, the World Travel and Tourism Council said.

“We are looking forward to a strong summer of travel, thanks to a combination of mask wearing, the global vaccination rollout and testing on departure unlocking the door to international travel once more,' said Gloria Guevara, the council's president and chief executive.

The council had forecast at the height of last year's pandemic that 174 million jobs could be lost in the sector.

In its latest analysis, a 'best case' scenario with travel recovering from March, widespread vaccinations and proper test-and-trace schemes in place forecasts 111 million jobs could be revived this year.

This would still be 17 per cent lower than at the end of 2019, equating to 54 million fewer jobs.

Under a more conservative scenario, with most international travel pushed back to the second half of the year and a slower removal of barriers to travel, 84 million jobs would return.

This would be 25 per cent below 2019 levels, meaning 82 million fewer recovered jobs.

Ms Guevara said the council first highlighted the potential for the return of up to 100 million jobs in a plan presented the G20 Tourism Ministers meeting in October last year.

'Now we believe the sector’s return will become a reality,' she said. “But we must guard against complacency as the recovery is not a foregone conclusion.

'There is still a long way to go and we will encounter many more bumps in the road ahead.'

Under the council's most optimistic scenario, the sector's contribution to the global economy will be 17 per cent lower this year than in 2019, at $7.4 trillion.

Under the more pessimistic outlook, it will drop by 27 per cent to $6.5tn.


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