WTTC makes a plea for a bailout

LONDON, 27 March 2020:  World tourism leaders need to execute crucial measures to save the travel and tourism sector, ahead of a virtual meeting of the G20 hosted by Saudi Arabia Thursday.

The call was made by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, to prevent a catastrophic collapse following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, putting up to 75 million jobs at immediate risk.

WTTC implored G20 leaders to assign resources and coordinate efforts to rescue major travel businesses such as airlines, cruises, hotels, GDS and technology companies, as well as the SME’s, such as travel agents, tour operators, restaurants, independent workers and the entire supply chain, in order to save the jobs of the 330 million people who rely on Travel & Tourism for their livelihoods.

WTTC welcomes the special virtual meeting, hosted by Saudi Arabia, which takes place as WTTC releases its latest annual Economic Impact Report.

According to WTTC’s 2019 research, Saudi Arabia’s new tourism strategy has made it the fastest growing and best performer across all G20 countries. A growth of 14% in trave and tourism, contributed 9.5% which includes direct, indirect and induced impacts to the Kingdom’s total economy, supporting 1.45m jobs (11.2% of the country’s total).

WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put the sector in unprecedented danger of collapse, which is looking increasingly likely unless a global rescue package is agreed to bolster what has become the backbone of the global economy.

“WTTC’s Economic Impact Report for 2019 reveals that this vital sector was responsible for generating one in four of all new jobs globally in 2019 and will have a crucial part to play in powering the global recovery.

“It is therefore of paramount importance that the G20 take urgent action now to preserve the 75 million jobs at immediate risk, which would represent a crushing Travel & Tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US$2.1 trillion in 2020 alone.

“A determined and decisive action by the G20 could reverse this, save millions from misery, and bolster one of the main engines of future economic growth. On behalf of millions of families and businesses, large and small around the world, we implore the G20 to take this vital step. We also recognise the efforts from all G20 countries in supporting a sector that alleviates poverty, provides the opportunity, especially for women and the youth, and is an engine for growth.”

The importance of the travel and tourism sector for aiding the world economic recovery is revealed in WTTC’s latest Economic Impact Report, which shows that throughout 2019 the sector supported one in 10 jobs (330 million), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating a quarter (one in four) of all new jobs.

Travel and tourism also outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%.

A breakdown by WTTC shows the Asia Pacific to be the top-performing region worldwide with a growth rate of 5.5%, followed by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US demonstrated a growth rate of 3.4% and the EU 2.4%.