South Africans working and studying abroad have been given the green light to return to the countries where they are based.

Can international tourism bounce back from Covid-19?

CAPE TOWN- International tourism is estimated to plunge by up to 80% this year due to the Covid-19 global pandemic – can the industry bounce back and how long would it take?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) says in an article that when international tourism recovers will largely depend on when governments ease restrictions.

Between 100-120 million jobs in tourism are at risk and it is estimated that globally the first three months of lost tourist receipts totals $80 billion.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) despite the economic burden of Covid-19 restrictions, demand in the industry will return. The questions are when – and where.

Experts from UNWTO forecast the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific could experience some recovery this year –while the Americas will most likely take longer.

Bouncebacks could look different in country to country, however domestic demand is expected to recover faster than international demand, and leisure travel should rebound sooner than business travel.

UNWTO’s Panel of Experts survey that while signs of recovery might start showing by the end of 2020, the bulk of improvements will not come until next year.

Three different scenarios of the impacts for the global travel and tourism industry have been outlined by UNWTO.

  • The lightest impact on the industry would result if countries gradually open their international borders and ease travel restrictions in July. This would result in a 58% annual cut in visitor numbers.
  • Easing restrictions in September could produce a bigger fall, at 70%
  • If restrictions aren’t loosened until December, that could reach 78%.


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