WTTC | “Devastating” pandemic for Tourism with 62 Million Job losses

The executive president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Julia Simpson, said today that the Covid-19 pandemic “has been devastating” for employment in the sector, having lost 62 million jobs around the world.

Referring to data prior to the pandemic, the head of this organization (WTTC, World Travel and Tourism Council) indicated that, in 2019, “one in four jobs being created in the world” is related to the industry of travel and tourism.

“And that means that, in 2019, there were more than 330 million jobs in our sector. Unfortunately, this pandemic has been devastating for us”, highlighted Julia Simpson, at a conference in Évora.

“The WTTC will fight for the restoration of each of the 62 million lost jobs around the world”, and “Portugal is already taking great steps in this direction”, argued Júlia Simpson.

Recalling that this sector represents “10.4% of GDP worldwide”, the executive president of the WTTC considered it “important” that industry and governments cooperate “to restart travel and build resilience” in this area for “a sustainable future ”.

The pandemic and the respective travel restrictions “had enormous social and economic effects, which reverberated through countries, destinations, communities and families around the world”, he stressed, ensuring that, in the last year, the WTTC has sought to “prove that trips can be made in safety”.

Currently, “there are still parts of the world that are effectively closed”, but some advances are already being seen, said the official, giving as examples Portugal and Europe as a whole.

Still, underlined the executive president of WTTC, an organization that represents more than 200 companies from around the world from different industries in the travel and tourism sector, “stronger international collaboration” is needed to “drive a global economic recovery”.

“I therefore appeal to all governments not to look inward, but to respond as global leaders and coordinate global solutions.”

Border closures and restrictions on international mobility are not the only issues on the table, there are “other factors that are detrimental to the recovery” of the sector, he said.

Julia Simpson alluded to the “highly fragmented nature of travel and tourism”, the “lack of inclusion of this sector in government decision-making” and the “limited leadership of multilateral institutions”.

The risks related to travel, in this period of pandemic, must be managed “at the individual level” and “not putting entire countries on red lists”, he defended.

However, in the case of Portugal, he said he applauds the country’s “leadership” “in opening up travel and valuing the sector’s contribution to employment, wealth and well-being”.

The world conference on sustainable tourism “A World for Travel – Évora Forum” started today at the University of Évora and continues until Friday, being promoted by several entities, with the support of Visit Portugal.


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