As many as one million jobs are being lost every day in the travel and tourism sector due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
“While the priority for governments is to keep people safe, this global health catastrophe means a million people a day in the travel & tourism industry alone are losing their jobs and facing potential ruin due to the disastrous impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Gloria Guevara, president & chief executive of WTTC in a statement on Friday.
Coronavirus, the biggest challenge to the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, has disrupted trade, the travel industry and rattled investors. At least $17tn ((Dh62.4tn) has been wiped from stock markets worldwide.
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“Businesses large and small are being forced to rip up their three-year plans and focus on a three-month fight for survival on a daily basis, while people’s jobs are wiped out hour by hour. We fear this situation will only deteriorate unless more action is taken immediately by governments to address it,” she said.
WTTC announced a three-point plan for governments to tackle the problem including protecting the salaries, income and jobs of people who are at risk and extending interest free loans to provide liquidity to large and small travel and tourism businesses. It also suggested waiving or removing all dues, taxes or fiscal charges for 12 months that affect the cash flow of businesses.
“While some governments have been quick to respond with promises of help, the majority of businesses still have no idea how to access these potentially life-saving loans and tax breaks," added Ms Guevara.
The travel body also said up to 50 million jobs throughout the world are at immediate risk, with up to 320 million jobs facing the impact of the dramatic loss of business due to the current situation.
Small and medium sized businesses at every level within travel and tourism, such as tour operators, travel agents and sole-traders, are especially vulnerable, it added.
Earlier this week, International Labour Organisation (ILO) predicted coronavirus could claim up to 24.7 million jobs worldwide. Based on different scenarios for the impact of Covid-19 on global gross domestic product, the ILO estimates indicated a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million in a low scenario and 24.7m in a high scenario from a base level of 188m in 2019.