World tourism was paralyzed in April by COVID-19, with a 97 percent drop in international arrivals, 180 million less than the same month of 2019

The world tourism almost froze in April by the crisis of COVID-19, with a 97 percent drop in the number of international arrivals, 180 million less than in the same month of 2019, after a decrease in 55 percent in March, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (OMT).

While April was expected to be one of the busiest times of the year due to the holidays in Easter, the almost universal introduction of travel restrictions caused that great fall, with which world tourism accumulated a decrease of 44 percent until that month, which translated into a loss of approximately $ 195 million in income.

Asia and the Pacific They were the first regions to be affected by the pandemic, taking the worst hit between January and April 2020, with 51 percent fewer arrivals.

Europe It registered the second largest drop, with a decrease of 44 percent in the same period, followed by Middle East, with one of 40 percent; America, with one of the 36 percent, and Africa, with one of 35 percent.

Beginnings of May, OMT established three possible scenarios for the tourism sector in 2020 which point to possible decreases in the total number of international tourists in the 58 to 78 percent, depending on when travel restrictions are lifted.

In these three scenarios, the impact of the fall in demand could mean the loss of between 850 and 1.1 billion international tourists, and with them, between 910 billion and 1.2 trillion dollars in worldwide tourism revenue.

They are threatened between 100 and 120 million jobs in direct use of tourism.

Restarting tourism

Since mid-May, the OMT has identified an increase in number of destinations announcing measures to restart tourism such as the introduction of improved safety and hygiene policies and protocols designed to promote internal travel.

After several months of unprecedented interruption, tourism is beginning to restart in some areas, especially in destinations in the northern hemisphere, although travel restrictions remain in force in most countries, making it one of the most affected.

For the general secretary of the OMT, Zurab Pololikashvili, it is “vital” that the restart of tourism becomes a priority and is managed responsibly, protecting the most vulnerable and with health and safety as the main concern of the sector.

Until tourism is resumed everywhere, the OMT has once again called for “strong support” from the sector to protect jobs and businesses, and therefore welcomes the steps taken by both the European Union as per individual countries including France and Spain, to support tourism economically and build the foundations for recovery.

With information from .