Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC. “Global Summit 2019 – Session Five” by World Travel & Tourism Council is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The World Travel & Tourism Council says a “strong summer of travel” is possible in 2021 if testing on departure, mandatory masks and the worldwide vaccination programs are implemented, signalling a ray of hope for the beleaguered travel industry.
In this best-case scenario, travel recovery starts from late MAR.
Many major travel companies are already reporting a significant rise in forward bookings, the association said in a news statement, adding that as many as 111 million jobs could return to the global travel and tourism sector this year.
Last year, during the height of the pandemic, WTTC warned 174 million global travel and tourism jobs were at risk. This latest analysis presents a much more optimistic picture, although it would still be 17 per cent below 2019 figures, accounting for 54 million fewer jobs.
“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,” Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, said.
“Our latest research supports this and shows there is definitely hope on the horizon for the global travel and tourism sector in the year ahead, with the possible recovery of up to 111 million jobs.”
The longer countries go without implementing robust testing and vaccination programs, the longer it will take for the industry to recover, WTTC warns.
“We must guard against complacency as the recovery is not a forgone conclusion. There is still a long way to go and we will encounter many more bumps in the road ahead. Vaccinations in major source markets, such as the U.K. and the U.S., will help us navigate our way out of the pandemic into a world where travel can once again thrive,” Guevara said.
“We cannot rely solely upon one solution and the rollout of vaccines to restart international travel. Testing on departure will still be critical to restore travel while respecting the safe protocols and recovering as many jobs as possible across travel and tourism, and throughout the wider economy.”
The forecast’s more conservative outcome would still see a return of 84 million jobs, but this would be 25 per cent below 2019 levels, with 82 million fewer jobs recovered.
Under this scenario, the recovery of international travel is pushed to the second half of 2021. Vaccines would be rolled out more gradually, slowing down the removal of worldwide travel barriers and restrictions currently in place, while depressing demand to travel and reducing consumer confidence.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.