Turkey, Economy

Coronavirus could cause $1 trillion damage to tourism

According to research, economic losses in tourism sector due to COVID-19 outbreak so far total $600M, says Turkish expert

Ugur Aslanhan   | 21.03.2020
Coronavirus could cause $1 trillion damage to tourism

ISTANBUL

The global tourism industry is set to incur losses of $1 trillion from the coronavirus outbreak, said the head of the World Tourism Forum Institute on Saturday.

Stressing the virus' spreading speed and its effects on the sector, Bulut Bagci told Anadolu Agency that 50 million people working in the sector may lose their jobs.

He said the global tourism market averages revenues of $1.7 trillion annually, and due to the outbreak, economic losses have already reached $600 million.

“We believe the loss will reach at least $1 trillion by the end of the year,” he said.

He said some 70% of the travel sector has stopped and the virus' effects on the sector are growing.

Bagci said from the first day of the outbreak, although Turkey has taken critical measures, some countries, especially European countries, were late to take the issue seriously.

Highlighting the issue's importance, Bagci said with the sectors related to tourism, the total economic losses might go as high as $5 trillion.

Bagci added that tourism affects at least 60 sectors and unfortunately, even if the outbreak is under control, tourism’s recovery will not be easy.

He also said tourism professionals should focus on the last quarter of 2020 and should consider shrinking staff as a last option.

The virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 166 countries and regions around the globe, while the tally of confirmed cases topped 275,000, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The global death toll has exceeded 11,000, causing a chain reaction as governments place countries on lockdown to stem the spread.

China, Italy, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.

Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of people who contract the virus suffer mild symptoms before making a recovery.

* Writing by Fahri Aksut

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