World Travel & Tourism Council repeats warning of economic blackhole.
The UK is likely to lose $186 billion from the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
This would represent a 73 per cent drop compared with 2019, and put millions of jobs at risk, the organisation has said – warning that its “worst-case scenario” was likely to come true.
In June, the organisation said that about three million UK travel and tourism jobs could be lost if stringent measures such as quarantine remain in place.
It now says 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”.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see our worst fears for the UK and global travel and tourism sector coming true.
“The jobs and livelihoods of millions of people who work throughout the sector are disappearing by the day, despite our warning this could happen.”
More: Get information on overseas travel in our travel advice section
More: Sign up to our Weekly Digest for an overview of travel news
She added: “While we acknowledge the UK government’s efforts to support travel and tourism during this crisis, the UK alone looks set to lose three million jobs in the sector, creating an economic black hole of $186 billion in the country’s finances.”
WTTC analysis shows that the travel and tourism sector contributes 9 per cent of the UK’s GDP and supports 11 per cent of total UK employment.
The worst case scenario used modelling based on restrictions being lifted after the summer (September for short-haul travel, October for mid-haul and November for long-haul).
It said that if travel restrictions were removed sooner the government could save 1.7 million jobs from being lost. The best case scenario was based on restrictions being lifted in June for short-haul and regional travel; from July for mid-haul and from August for long-haul.
However, while the Department for Transport’s travel corridors list and the relaxation of Foreign Office advice regarding non-essential travel has improved matters, chaotic decision-making has dented consumer confidence.
The government has been unapologetic about its decision to remove Spain from the safe list, prompting calls for a testing regime to be installed at airports.