One million jobs lost every day in travel & tourism sector due to COVID-19

Luke Jerram/NHM

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that one million jobs are being lost every day in the travel and tourism sector, in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The international organisation, which represents the global travel and tourism sector, said the growing job losses are affecting every level of the industry.

WTTC said the closure of hotels, suspension of airline flights, cessation of cruise lines and global travel bans are having a catastrophic “domino effect”, hitting global suppliers.

Small and medium-sized businesses, including tour operators and travel agents, are particularly vulnerable.

To tackle this, WTTC is in discussions with more than 75 governments across the globe, and is calling for countries to intervene with loans and tax breaks to prevent collapse.

Closures having a catastrophic “domino effect”

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said: “While the priority for governments is to keep people safe, this global health catastrophe means a million people a day in the travel and tourism industry alone are losing their jobs and facing potential ruin due to the disastrous impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“It is heartbreaking that the livelihoods of millions of people who have dedicated their lives to the travel and tourism sector are being decimated; from waiters to taxi drivers, guides to chefs and caterers, pilots to cleaners.

“The relentless cascade of job losses is plunging millions of families into terrible hardship and debt, fearful of how to buy food and pay their bills. The domino effect of COVID-19 is right now having a massive impact, wiping out an entire economic sector.”

Guevara added: “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.

Small and medium-sized businesses most at risk

“We fear this situation will only deteriorate unless more action is taken immediately by governments to address it. 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.

“Today we call on governments around the world to make crystal clear how businesses can access funds, which can prevent the haemorrhage of jobs throughout the travel and tourism sector.”

WTTC said that up to 50 million jobs around the world are at immediate risk, with up to 320 million jobs facing a dramatic loss of business.

WTTC’s latest research found that travel and tourism contributes to 10.4 percent of global GDP, and is directly responsible for generating 1 in 10 jobs globally.

In addition, travel and tourism has outpaced the growth of the global economy for the past 8 years.

WTTC’s plan for governments to combat the effect of COVID-19

  • Protect the salaries, incomes and jobs of the millions of people who are at risk
  • Extend vital, unlimited interest-free loans to provide liquidity to large and small businesses to prevent them from collapse
  • Waive or remove all dues, taxes or fiscal charges for 12 months that affect cash flow, which can be critical to businesses survival.