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World Tourism Organization: International tourism will resume in the second half of next year

Date: 2020-08-23

The liberalization of cross-border tourism is still quite difficult at present.

A few days ago, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (World Tourism Organization), headquartered in the Spanish capital Madrid, stated that from January to May this year, the impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic has caused the global tourism industry to lose 320 billion US dollars in revenue, threatening hundreds of The livelihood of ten thousand people. The United Nations World Tourism Organization also pointed out that the global tourism revenue loss from January to May this year will be more than three times the loss during the global financial crisis in 2009.

The International Air Transport Association stated that the number of passengers in the aviation industry is expected to decline by at least 55% in 2020, which is more serious than the 46% drop predicted in April. According to a survey released by the International Air Transport Association in June this year, half of the respondents said they would wait six months or more before choosing to travel again. IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said the recovery in the second half of this year will be slower than expected.

For many countries that use tourism as an important source of foreign exchange income, the sudden drop in tourism demand has caused serious economic and social consequences. Many countries and regions are struggling to revitalize the tourism industry.

Tourism is one of the pillar industries in European countries. The governments of various countries originally hoped to restart the tourism industry in the summer, but recently the epidemic in most countries has rebounded, and the pace of restarting has to be more cautious, and various auxiliary travel restrictions have been adopted while restarting.

For example, Finland relaxed travel restrictions on tourists from 17 European countries in mid-July, but due to the epidemic, it restored travel restrictions on Austria, Slovenia, and Switzerland. On the 6th, it decided to resume the restrictions on the Netherlands and Belgium from the 10th. And travel restrictions in Andorra.

According to a data released by the Spanish National Bureau of Statistics a few days ago, the Canary Islands welcomed 2,201 foreign tourists in June, a year-on-year decrease of about 99.8%. The local government has jointly launched the "New Crown Travel Insurance" with insurance companies a few days ago, promising to cover all expenses that may be incurred by tourists due to the new crown pneumonia during local travel, in order to promote the restart of the tourism industry. However, on the 14th local time, the German Interior Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Health announced the implementation of a travel ban on Spain. Prior to this, the British government had included Spain on the travel ban list at the end of July. The Italian Ministry of Health also announced on August 12 that all Passengers entering Spain must be tested for the virus. These bans will make the recovery of the Spanish tourism industry more difficult.

Tourism is one of the most dynamic industries in Asia and the Pacific, and its restart is also facing challenges. However, a survey showed that Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore are more optimistic in their attitudes towards resuming travel.

ADB Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Bureau economist Matthias Huber wrote on his blog that in Asia, there are currently two strategies that can revive the tourism industry in the short term: one is to promote domestic tourism, and the other is The implementation of the "Travel Bubble" program, that is, the establishment of exclusive tourism cooperation relationships between countries that have controlled the spread of the virus, so that tourists can travel freely.

He said that many people still have a strong desire to travel, but they are afraid of foreign or foreign countries and want to avoid public transportation, or are restricted by local blockade measures and cannot make the trip. Therefore, tourists who are willing to travel abroad will be attracted. Going to domestic attractions is a viable strategy. For example, the Philippines invested 8.5 million US dollars at the beginning of this year to develop domestic tourism. After Vietnam's blockade was lifted, domestic tourism showed a clear upward trend. However, for most countries, this move is far from enough. And creating a travel bubble can be another option. The "Travel Bubble" program is an agreement to open borders to nationals of partner countries of the "Travel Bubble". Travel Bubble can only be for business trips, or it can include leisure trips. This exchange can be two-way or one-way. The "travel bubble" can also be jointly established by two or more partners. Of course, a challenge facing the travel bubble program is that most economies have not yet controlled the spread of the new crown pneumonia epidemic.

Although there are many ideas from all walks of life to restore the tourism industry, it is clear that the liberalization of cross-border tourism is still quite difficult at present. The United Nations World Tourism Organization predicts that the number of international tourists in 2020 is likely to drop to 60% to 80%. If a large-scale epidemic occurs again, the situation will get worse. Most members of the expert group of this organization expect that international tourism will resume in the second half of 2021, and some members expect a recovery in the first half of next year.