The world's tourism sector could lose at least 1.2 trillion USD, or 1.5 percent of the global GDP, due to a standstill of nearly four months caused by the coronavirus pandemic, UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) says in its latest report.
Croatia, a country which relies heavily on tourism, is among the countries whose GDP might suffer the most.
In the report, published on July 1, the UN body addresses the economic fallout of the global COVID-19 pandemic, estimating losses in three scenarios, depending on the duration of the break in international tourism - of four, eight and twelve months.
The loss could rise to 2.2 trillion USD or 2.8 percent of the world's GDP if the break in international tourism lasts for eight months, while in the most pessimistic scenario, a 12-month break, it could reach 3.3 trillion dollars or 4.2 percent of global GDP.
"Tourism is a backbone of many countries' economies and a lifeline for millions of people around the world, having more than tripled in value in the last 20 years," the report says. "But COVID-19 has brought it to a halt, causing severe economic consequences globally," it adds.
According to UNCTAD's moderate estimates, Croatia could lose 8 percent of GDP.
The report warned that the tourism sector would also come under pressure in wealthier countries as well, citing popular European and North American destinations, including France, Italy and the United States.
"Coronavirus-induced losses in tourism have a knock-on effect on other economic sectors that supply the goods and services travellers seek while on vacation, such as food, beverages and entertainment," the report says.
For this reason, the organization has called for governments to strengthen social protection to prevent the worst economic hardship for people and communities that depend on tourism.
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