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23 Mar 2020

50 million tourism jobs at stake as WTTC pens open letter to world's governments

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has sent an open letter to the world's governments, with the organisation revealing that more than one million tourism jobs globally are being lost every day as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to WTTC, growing job losses are affecting the industry at every level, with numbers increasing as more countries go into lockdown, with a "domino effect" following the closures of hotels, suspension of airlines and a growing number of travel bans hitting a huge number of suppliers and supplemental industries. Tour operators, travel agents and sole traders, it says, are particularly vulnerable.

The open letter, penned by WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara, states that 50 million jobs globally are at risk, with the travel and tourism sector "in a fight for survival".

"No one can doubt that we are in uncharted territory," says Guevara. "The coronavirus pandemic means the world is facing a threat on multiple fronts not seen in peacetime.

"Without Travel & Tourism, economies around the world face an existential threat. To counter this, WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector. Not soon. Not in a few weeks. Now. Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide."

The letter proposes three steps to be taken immediately in order to protect the millions who rely on the industry to the livelihoods:

1. Financial help must be granted to protect the incomes of the millions of workers in the sector facing severe economic difficulties.

2. Governments must extend vital, unlimited interest-free loans to global Travel & Tourism companies as well as the millions of small and medium-sized businesses as a stimulus to prevent them from collapse.

3. All government taxes, dues and financial demands on the travel sector need to be waived with immediate effect at least for the next 12 months.

WTTC statistics shows that the travel and tourism sector has outpaced global growth for the last eight years. The industry contributes to 10.4 per cent of the overall GDP and is also responsible for generating 1 in 10 jobs worldwide.

"We're calling upon the world to take urgent and immediate action to prevent this global health crisis becoming a worldwide economic catastrophe," says the letter. "Doing nothing is not an option. We implore every government to take drastic and decisive action now to preserve and protect the contribution of the travel and tourism sector, on which more than 320 million people and their families depend on."

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