World council foresees ‘strong summer of travel’

Published January 22, 2021, 6:18 PM

by Hanah Tabios

Despite the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong summer of travel is expected to restart the recovery of over 100 million jobs in the global travel and tourism sector this year, the latest economic forecast from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said. 

World Travel and Tourism Council (Wikipedia)

The factors for this prediction is based on widespread vaccination programs and a swift adoption of comprehensive test-and-trace regimes, together with continual, strong international coordination from the private and public sectors.

According to the global tourism body, “a strong summer of travel” is expected as the sector begins its road to recovery from late March onwards, with many major travel companies reporting a significant rise in forward bookings.

Last year, the WTTC warned 174 million global travel and tourism jobs were at risk. 

But based on its latest forecast, it said as many as 111 million jobs could be recovered, but this would still be 17 percent below 2019 figures, accounting for 54 million fewer jobs.

The global body also said recovery of international travel is pushed to the second half of 2021. 

“We are looking forward to a strong summer of travel, thanks to a combination of mask wearing, the global vaccination rollout and testing on departure unlocking the door to international travel once more,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. 

“This projected outcome will come as huge relief and be welcomed as the beginning of the long-awaited recovery, for a sector which has for so long suffered the brunt of hugely damaging travel restrictions,” she added. 

But Guevara emphasized not to be complacent even with the figures released as “recovery is not a foregone conclusion.”

“There is still a long way to go and we will encounter many more bumps in the road ahead,” she stressed. 

She said testing on departure will still be a critical component to restore travel, adding that the recovery of the hardest hit industry could not rely solely on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Further, the new research revealed that global gross domestic product (GDP) will fall 17 percent compared to 2019 figures, to US$7.4 trillion. 

In the more conservative outcome, with a slower recovery, the sector’s contribution will drop by more than one quarter or 27 percent, to US$ 6.5 trillion.