One million tourism jobs lost everyday — World Travel and Tourism Council

Business

One million tourism jobs lost everyday — World Travel and Tourism Council

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter
milesk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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As the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world, reports by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) are that about one million tourism jobs are lost every day, as the impact of the virus ravages the very vulnerable tourism sector.

A number of major hotels have already announced short-term closures and the scaling down of workers in an effort to cushion the economic fallout that will ensue from this global crisis.

According to the London-based international tourism council the growing job losses are affecting every level of the industry and are gathering pace as countries go into lockdown.

In a report last week the entity posited that with much of the associated tourism businesses impacted, a domino effect has also been created and is now affecting global supply chains.

“Small- and medium-sized businesses at every level within tourism, such as tour operators, travel agents, and sole traders, are especially vulnerable. The vast closure of hotels, suspension of the majority of international and domestic airline flights, cessation of cruise lines, and growing global travel bans are all having a catastrophic 'domino effect' hitting huge numbers of suppliers worldwide,” the entity said.

The organisation acknowledged that while the tourism sector was facing an economic meltdown, also acknowledged that the coronavirus is the primary health disaster that must be dealt with expeditiously.

The organisation noted that they were already in dialogue with more than 75 governments across the globe calling on them to “urgently do more to intervene and to make clearer how businesses can access potentially life-saving loans and tax breaks, to prevent them from imminent collapse.”

JAMAICA

Just last week Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, in assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on the local sector said that the entire tourism industry in the country was facing imminent closure. He however, expressed hope that the closure of major hotels including Sandals, RIU, Decameron, and Half-Moon among others would be short-lived and normality returned in the shortest possible time.

Noting that the closure of the travel market was a global one, the minister also endorsed it as a necessary move to prevent and contain the virus.

“It is proven that the optimal way to deal with the virus now is to prevent the movement of the vectors from one location to another,” he said, while also indicating that his ministry will be working closely with the Ministry of Finance and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) to institute fiscal arrangements that will help to cushion the impacts of the deadly virus on workers in the sector.


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