The United Kingdom suffered a £148 billion financial loss and a 62.3 percent decline in contribution to the country’s GDP last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic situation.
In addition, the crisis provoked by the virus left 307,000 persons working in the travel and tourism sector jobless in 2020, VisaGuide.World reports.
These conclusions have been reached by research conducted by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and presented on the annual Economic Impact Report (EIR).
In this regard, President & CEO WTTC, Gloria Guevara, said that “the loss of more than 300,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the UK has had a devastating socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people fearing for their future.”
In 2019, the travel and tourism sector contributed £238 billion or 10.1 percent to the country’s GDP, but the figures significantly decreased last year to just £90 billion or 4.2 percent.
Nonetheless, WTTC believes that if the UK’s government did not introduce fiscal and liquidity incentives and other schemes to protect over 11 million jobs, last year’s figures could have been worse.
Authorities in the UK have spent over £46 billion on job retention schemes, according to recent figures, while the number is expected to increase to £80 billion by October 2021.
The number of persons employed in Britain’s travel and tourism sector in 2019 was 4.27 million, while it declined to 3.96 last year, a total of 7.2 percent.
Based on the WTTC report, domestic visitor spending decreased by 363.2 percent due to the imposed lockdowns, while international spending decreased by 71.6 percent due to travel bans and other restrictions imposed to stop the further spread of the disease.
However, she believes that the figures could have been far worse if the country’s government did not take immediate action in order to prevent further crises in this sector.
According to her, WTTC believes that the country could return 300,000 jobs that have been lost last year if the governments of countries worldwide ease their travel restrictions.
“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the UK economy. Our research shows that if mobility and international travel resumes by June this year, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply in 2021, by 48.5%, year-on-year,” Guevara has stressed.
Since March last year, when the first wave of the Coronavirus started to attack countries widely, the World Travel and Tourism Council has called on countries’ governments many times to ease bans and restrictions and find alternative ways to revive the travel and tourism sector.
Last month, authorities in the United Kingdom announced that they are seeking to restart international travel in a safe way, despite the rapid spread of the virus.
The idea was discussed by the UK’s Secretary of State Grant Shapps in the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce.