Egypt’s expected tourism sector losses in 2020 worth $12-$13bn: Ehab Abdel Aal

Nehal Samir
6 Min Read
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Egypt’s expected tourism sector losses in 2020 are worth between $12bn-$13bn, according to Ehab Abdel Aal, Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association. 

Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Abdel Aal said that though there has been no official statement by the Egyptian Government on the size of the losses, it can be expected soon. 

“Egypt’s income from tourism was $16bn annually, but in 2020, Egypt only achieved $2.5bn, in the months of January and February,” he said, “So this makes the expected losses between $12bn and $13bn.”

Notably, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed in its latest report that the global Travel and Tourism sector suffered $4.5trn in losses during 2020, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The data was published in its annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), on Monday, which outlined the full devastating impact of the pandemic on the global Travel and Tourism sector in 2020.

The annual EIR reviews the global Travel and Tourism private sector, and shows the sector’s contribution to GDP. It revealed that this dropped a staggering 49.1% compared to the overall global economy, which dropped by just 3.7% last year.

Vast losses ran up during 2020, painting the first full picture of a sector struggling to survive in the face of crippling travel restrictions and quarantines. These continue to threaten the urgent recovery of the world economy.

Altogether, the sector’s contribution to global GDP plummeted to $4.7trn in 2020, representing 5.5% of the global economy, from nearly $9.2trn, or 10.4%, in the previous year.

In 2019, when global Travel and Tourism was thriving and generating one in four of all new jobs around the world, the sector contributed 10.6%, or 334 million, jobs globally. 

However, in 2020, and as the pandemic ripped through the heart of Travel and Tourism, over 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5%. This left a total of just 272 million employed across the industry globally. 

These jobs losses were felt across the entire Travel and Tourism ecosystem, with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 80% of all businesses in the sector, particularly affected. 

Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth, and minorities was significant. 

However, the threat persists as many of these jobs are currently supported by government retention schemes and reduced hours, without which a full recovery of Travel and Tourism could be lost.  

The WTTC has praised governments around the world for their prompt response. However, the global tourism body fears governments cannot continue to prop up threatened jobs indefinitely, and must instead turn to the sector to help its recovery.

This will ensure that it can power the global economic revival by saving businesses and creating much needed new jobs, and saving the millions of livelihoods that depend on the sector.

The report also reveals a shocking loss in international travel spending, which was down 69.4% on the previous year.

Domestic travel spending fell by 45%, a lower decline due to some internal travel in a number of countries.

Route to recovery

The year 2020 to early 2021 have been ruinous for Travel and Tourism, with millions around the world in lockdown. 

The WTTC research, however, shows that if international mobility and travel is resumed by June 2021, it will significantly boost global and country level GDPs, as well as jobs. 

According to the research, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply this year, up 48.5% year-on-year (y-o-y). The research also shows that its contribution could almost reach the same levels of 2019 in 2022, with a further y-o-y rise of 25.3%.

The WTTC also predicts that, if the global vaccine rollout continues at pace and travel restrictions are relaxed just before the busy summer season, the 62 million jobs lost in 2020 could return by 2022.

The council strongly advocates the resumption of safe international travel in June this year, if governments follow its four principles of recovery. This includes a comprehensive coordinated international testing regime upon departure for all non-vaccinated travellers, to eliminate quarantines.

It also includes: enhanced health and hygiene protocols and mandatory mask wearing; shifting to individual traveller risk assessments instead of country risk assessments; and continued support for the sector, including fiscal, liquidity and worker protection.

The WTTC says the introduction of digital health passes, such as the recently announced Digital Green Certificate, will support the sector’s recovery.

The global tourism body also urges governments around the world to provide a clear and decisive roadmap, allowing businesses time to ramp up their operations in order to recover from the ravages of the pandemic.

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