These countries most at risk from falling tourism due to COVID-19

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region

New Delhi (NVI): The global travel restrictions put in place to reduce the coronavirus pandemic have had a devastating effect on countries depending on tourism industry.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data shows countries that stand the most to lose from a downturn in tourism are Italy and Spain – which have been among the countries hit earliest and hardest by the coronavirus crisis.

Both the countries are among the most vulnerable to the economic fallout of the pandemic as they are highly dependent on tourism.

They heavily rely on travel and tourism, which has come to a screeching halt in the past months and remains very limited to this day despite gradual reopening.

Moreover, both the countries have struggled economically even before the outbreak, with high levels of public debt and unemployment rates among the highest of all OECD countries.

According to the WTTC data, travel and tourism contributed 14.3 and 13.0 percent, respectively, to Spain’s and Italy’s GDP last year.

It included direct contributions from hotels, travel agents, airlines, restaurants and others as well as ripple effects from the billions of dollars or euros for that matter, that tourists bring to their shores.

Apart from this, in the United States, the total impact of travel and tourism was considerably smaller at 8.6 percent of GDP.

Even at that lower rate, travel and tourism directly supports more than 6 million jobs in the United States, with the total contribution to employment amounting to 16.8 million jobs in the US, according to WTTC data.

-RJV/CHK