Poor countries could lose US $ 1.4 trillion from the collapse of tourism this year. Blame it on the inequality in vaccination

(CNN Business) – The collapse of international tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic could cost the world economy as much as $ 2.4 trillion this year, as uneven vaccine deployment devastates developing countries that rely heavily on foreign visitors.

In a report released Wednesday, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) said that even with a larger portion of the world’s population vaccinated, the economic impact of the pandemic on tourism is resulting be more severe than their worst predictions of 12 months ago.

The study highlights how costly vaccine inequality will be to the global economy, with tourism losses this year alone amounting to between $ 1.7 trillion and $ 2.4 trillion despite an expected rebound in travel in countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More vaccines against covid-19 arrive in countries in Africa 3:39

Developing economies could account for as much as 60% of global GDP losses, or as much as $ 1.4 trillion this year, according to the report, which was produced in conjunction with the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO). its acronym in English).

Aerial view of the National Assembly in Quito, Ecuador.

More than half of global losses are forecast in poor countries

The drop in tourism could cost the world economy up to $ 4.8 trillion by 2020 and 2021, a $ 2.9 trillion hit for the poorest countries.

The analysis takes into account the losses of the industries that supply food, beverages, accommodation and transportation to the tourism sector, but does not reflect economic stimulus packages that could soften the impact of the pandemic.

“Developing countries have borne most of the impact of the pandemic on tourism,” UNCTAD said in a release. “They suffered the biggest reductions in tourist arrivals in 2020, estimated at between 60% and 80%.”

Despite the easing of blockades and the rebound in travel in some parts of the world, the tourism crisis is far from over. Half of the experts interviewed by the WTO see that international tourism will return to 2019 levels only in 2024 or later.

Vaccination is a relevant point

Only 10% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

Even in countries with high vaccination rates, such as the UK, travel restrictions remain in place amid concerns about an increase in cases driven by the highly communicable delta variant. For countries with far fewer vaccinated people, overwhelmingly poorer countries, the prospects are much worse.

Unctad predicts a 75% reduction in tourist arrivals to countries with low vaccination rates this year, compared to a 37% reduction in countries with more than 50% of their population vaccinated.

tourism

Tourists take photos in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 27. The reduction in tourism could cause unemployment to rise by as much as 10%, according to the Unctad.

Countries such as Turkey, Ecuador and South Africa and islands such as the Maldives and Saint Lucia will be the most affected by the impact. Large parts of Asia and Oceania are also severely affected, while North America, Western Europe and the Caribbean are the least affected, according to the report.

Teamwork, key for the tourism sector 3:10

Another consequence is unemployment

Overall, the drop in tourism is expected to cause a 5.5% increase in unskilled labor unemployment on average. The WTO estimates that between 100 million and 120 million direct jobs are at stake, many of them belonging to youth, women and informal workers.

“Tourism is a lifesaver for millions, and promoting vaccination to protect communities and support the safe restart of tourism is critical to recovering jobs and generating much-needed resources, especially in developing countries,” WTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement.

The main obstacle in the path of tourism recovery is the uneven availability of vaccines and the low number of people vaccinated in many countries, according to the report. Travel restrictions, slow containment of the virus, traveler confidence and a poor economic environment are also barriers.

To get people to travel again, the report says countries should better coordinate and facilitate travel requirements, for example by agreeing on common standards for cheap and reliable coronavirus testing.

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