In the last few years, the tourism industry has managed to stay afloat for a long time, now that many people are willing to spend on air travel. This has made it one of the biggest industries across the globe that contributes to economic growth. In other words, the sector experienced a staggering 59% growth in the last 10 years as per the numbers received from the international tourist's arrival. Earlier, the figure was around 880 million back in 2009, but now, it has already exceeded 1.5 billion, which is the largest ever recorded in history. Tourism is a strong sector because it has attracted millions of people globally.
In 2019, the tourism industry contributed a whopping $8.9 trillion to the economy, with a strong contribution of 10%. Furthermore, it is also imperative to note that one out of ten jobs in the world is related to tourism. This sums up to 330 million jobs across the globe. However, when the COVID 19 hit the world, the tourism industry was amongst the frontlines to get affected. While the airplanes were ready to take off, restaurants got shut, hotels got closed, and the strict travel restrictions were brought into perspective. Therefore, this sector has been one of the hardest hit due to this global pandemic. In other words, the pandemic cut the tourism industry by one quarter during the early months of 2020.
Travel ban and the closing borders
Because coronavirus came out to be one of the deadliest viruses on earth, countries decided to introduce SOPs and also applied travel restrictions to curtail the spread of this disease. Nationwide lockdowns, flight delays, and the suspension of several flights were just some of the ways to stop the spread of this disease. Once the virus penetrated almost every country globally, 93% of the global population decided to live with travel restrictions. Even now, if somebody has to travel to a certain country, they have to undergo an archaic procedure to get vaccinated, tested, and proceed with their flight. Around 3 billion people were forced to settle for border closure for foreign people.
How has international tourism declined?
Luckily, the number of international tourists has improved in the last few years and has managed to stay afloat with consistency. However, in 2017, it reached around 1.3 billion people globally, whereas it crossed 1.5 billion only in 2019. However, as soon as the COVID 19 hit the world, the number of international tourists went down by a staggering 22%, which was the highest ever recorded in the last two decades. Therefore, many airlines decided to lay off hundreds of employees from their jobs, as they didn’t have enough funds to cater to the monthly expenses. This eventually gave birth to a high unemployment rate, which was unacceptable as many governments had no plan in place to support such people with enough funds.
The global pandemic and the airline failure
According to earlier sources, it was expected that the global airline industry would lose around $83 billion in revenue. The report also claimed that the airline industry would incur heavy losses in the years to come if the global pandemic would not come slow. As expected, 2020 emerged as the word year for the airline industry because several firms failed to cater to the needs of their employees. What’s more shocking is how many airlines have shut due to this pandemic. Even for the airlines that are very much operational, the expenses are almost equal to the revenue being generated from the current passengers, which is a big risk in the long run.
The start of 2021 and the return of the airline industry
Now that we are almost close to the end of 2021, it is fair enough to say that this year hasn’t been tough on the airline industry. Especially for those who used Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard, it has become much easier to book their flights and have a comfortable journey. Now that the COVID 19 vaccine is all over the place, airlines have made it mandatory for everyone to travel only after getting vaccinated and following the SOPs. Although the airline industry is still facing huge losses due to unprecedented lockdowns and flight bans, still this year has enabled many firms to operate to their fullest. Thankfully, the travel restrictions have been eased a bit, and many countries have opened their borders for international tourists.
Now that people have started to travel again safely, airlines have resumed operations. Thankfully, because passengers have started to get vaccinated, they have easily gone one step further in taking the next flight.
The hospitality sector hit by lockdown
No wonder the lockdown because of this pandemic has severely hit the tourism industry globally. On the other hand, the hotel industry has been at the receiving end of the damage. There’s no running away from the fact that the hotel industry has amassed staggering losses due to the global lockdown. In other words, there has been a sudden 55.9% decline in the occupancy rate. On the other hand, the decline in revenue has been recorded at 74.4%, which is enough reason for many entrepreneurs not to think of investing in the hotel industry.
Now that we’ve all understood that the COVID 19 is here to stay, it is important to note; this virus is going to continue to affect many countries for the years to come. Unless the vaccines are strong enough to beat the coronavirus, it is hard to say if different countries will ease the travel restrictions. Because air travel is mainstream, it is expected that the industry will slowly pick up its pace by the start of next year. Now that COVID 19 has cemented a strong position for itself, we seldom see a drastic change in the tourism industry in the next few months.