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International tourism numbers could drop in 2020

By Jael Mboga | November 2nd 2020 at 21:26:27 GMT +0300

Tourism is ranked as the third largest export sector in the global economy.

International tourism numbers could drop by 58 per cent to 78 per cent in 2020. 

Research data analyzed and gathered by StockApps.com show it would lead to a loss of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in tourism exports which amounted to $1.5 trillion in 2019.

The multi-billion shilling travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest sectors to suffer most from the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

According to the World Tourism Organization, the top countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to Covid-19 (Jan-April 2020) were US at $30.71 million and Spain at $9.74 million.

Based on a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, the tourism industry’s woes will cause a loss of 1.5 per cent to 2.8 per cent on global GDP. It would translate to a $1.17 trillion to $2.22 trillion loss for the global economy.

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Tourism is ranked as the third largest export sector in the global economy. It accounts for more than 30% of exports for many of the small island developing states (SIDS).

But African Wildlife Foundation CEO Kadu Sebunya says the most apparent and urgent readjustment for key players in this sector is to realign their focus to draw in domestic and regional tourists.

"Many countries are still at the height of the pandemic and therefore international travel into Africa will take time to normalise.

"There is a serious need for diversification of product and service offering for the various market audiences. We need to see how favourable price points can be developed for all economic segments – therefore enabling tourism to shift from a luxurious avenue to a leisure activity."

In March, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) announced that up to 50 million jobs were at risk globally owing to the pandemic.

In 2019, tourism accounted for 10 per cent of all exports in Africa. Worldwide, it generated 7% of all trade and employed 1 in 10 people. 

Moreover, there were 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals and 8.8 billion domestic arrivals in 2019.

On the other hand, between January and August 2020, the number of international tourist arrivals dropped by 70% according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). 

It resulted in a $730 billion loss for tourism exports. This was eight times the losses experienced throughout the 2009 global financial crisis. APAC led the way with a 79 per cent drop while Africa and EMEA shed 69 per cent each.

During the first four months of 2020, the US saw the highest loss in tourism revenue, losing $30.71 billion. 

Meanwhile, China has the potential to emerge as Kenya's top tourism source market post-COVID-19, the country's tourism agency said last month.

Fred Okeyo, acting director of market development of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), said the Asian nation is currently among the top 10 countries that provide tourists to Kenya.

"The Chinese travel quite a lot and the country is one of the fastest-growing outbound tourist markets globally and so the country could emerge as the leading source in the next five years," Okeyo said during the launch of a digital conference solution in Nairobi.

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