The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged governments to prevent “a catastrophic collapse” in the travel and tourism industry following the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The call comes as G20 leaders meet in Saudi Arabia today to discuss the pandemic.
WTTC implored the leaders to assign resources and coordinate efforts to rescue major travel businesses such as airlines, cruises, GDS, hotels and technology companies.
The organization stressed that one million jobs are being lost each day in the sector and the GDP loss to the world economy could be up to $2.1 trillion in 2020.
“The number of jobs now at risk in the global travel and tourism sector is a staggering 75 million, bringing real and profound worry to millions of families around the world,” WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara said.
“This chilling new figure also represents the collective delay by many governments around the world to react quickly enough to come to the aid of a sector which is the backbone of the global economy.
“If urgent action is not taken within the next few days, the travel and tourism sector faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover and plunge millions of people dependent upon it for their livelihoods into debt.”
The WTTC analysis found that Asia-Pacific is expected to be most heavily impacted with up to 49 million jobs at risk throughout the region, representing a loss of nearly $800 billion to travel and tourism GDP.
“We call on all those in positions of power to help the powerless and enact policies to support and sustain a sector which is a driving force of the global economy and responsible for generating one in five of all new jobs,” Guevara said.