The world’s tourism sector could lose at least $1.2 trillion, or 1.5% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), having been placed at a standstill for nearly four months due to the coronavirus pandemic, UNCTAD said in a report published on 1 July.

Major tourist destinations such as Thailand, France and Germany stand to lose approximately US$47 billion each in GDP due to the contraction in tourism.

The UN’s trade and development body warned that the loss could rise to $2.2 trillion or 2.8% of the world’s GDP if the break in international tourism lasts for eight months, in line with the expected decline in tourism as projected by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

UNCTAD estimates losses in the most pessimistic scenario, a 12-month break in international tourism, at $3.3 trillion or 4.2% of global GDP.

“These numbers are a clear reminder of something we often seem to forget: the economic importance of the sector and its role as a lifeline for millions of people all around the world.”

UNCTAD’s director of international trade, Pamela Coke-Hamilton.

Changes in GDP: 15 most affected countries, moderate scenario
Changes in GDP: 15 most affected countries, moderate scenario

Developing countries could suffer the steepest GDP losses. Jamaica and Thailand stand out, losing 11% and 9% of GDP respectively in the most optimistic scenario of UNCTAD’s estimates. Other tourism hotspots such as…

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