WTTC: U.S. could lose $155 billion from missing international tourists and visitors

The U.S. economy looks set to lose as much as $155 billion due to the collapse of international travel during 2020, according to latest research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, says the massive decline in the number of international travelers and tourists visiting the U.S due to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in international visitor spending dropping by a staggering 79%.

This catastrophic loss to the American economy equates to a shortfall of $425 million a day, or nearly $3 billion a week, to the country’s economy.

WTTC and its members recently called upon President Donald Trump and the other leaders of the G7 countries, urging for a coordinated approach to be taken in leading the recovery response to the crisis.

WTTC says that nearly 12.1 million jobs in the U.S. supported by Travel & Tourism are at risk of being lost in a ‘worst case’ scenario mapped out by WTTC economic modelling.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for 16.8 million jobs in the U.S., or 10.7% of the country’s total workforce. It also generated $1.8 trillion, or 9% for the American economy.

The WTTC analysis of inter-national travel spending in the U.S during 2019 reveals it reached $195.1 billion, accounting for 16% of the total tourism spend in the country. Domestic travel spending last year was responsible for the other 84%.

A further breakdown reveals how crucial spending from international travelers during 2019 was to the economy. Every month it accounted for nearly $16.3 billion, or $3.7 billion a week – and an incredible, $534.5 million a day.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, commented on the latest U.S. tourism figures, saying: “The economic pain and suffering caused to millions of households across the U.S, who are dependent upon Travel & Tourism for their livelihoods, is evident from our latest shocking figures.

“The lack of international visitors to the U.S. due to the pandemic could wipe out more than $155 billion from the U.S. economy alone – a loss of $425 million a day – from which it may take years to recover. It could also threaten New York’s position as one of the world’s premier hubs for business and leisure travel.

“International coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel would provide a boost for the Travel & Tourism sector. It would benefit airlines and hotels, travel agents and tour operators and revitalize the millions of jobs in the supply chain which are dependent upon international travel across the Atlantic.

“We urgently need to replace blanket quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programs at departure points across the country. This investment will be significantly less than the impact of blunt quarantines which have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences.

“The recent $750 million deal with Abbott labs for $5 rapid test is very promising in this respect, and we hope that it allows the U.S. to continue to reopen and can prove as a blueprint for a way forward for other countries. Targeted test and tracing will help rebuild consumer confidence to travel.

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