The United States of America is the worst affected country in the world by the Coronavirus pandemic, with 7,139,553 cases recorded so far, and 206,593 deaths in total.
The pandemic has badly hit not only the health sector in the US but also the economy, with the travel and tourism industry being amongst the worst affected.
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the US back in February 2020, the country was at its peak of the monthly economic activity, which had begun since June 2009, and according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, it marked the end of the longest recorded US expansion, VisaGuide.World reports.
According to the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based non-profit public policy organization that conducts in-depth research, the pandemic has particularly been affecting small businesses, which represent the majority of businesses in the United States and employ nearly half of all private-sector workers.
Severe declines in revenue have been marked among the leisure and hospitality education and health service sectors.
In comparison to January 2020, the average daily revenue as of August 9 was down by 47.5 per cent in the leisure and hospitality sector, 16.4 per cent in the education sector and health services sector, and 14.1 per cent in the retail and transportation sector. Cumulative small business revenue across all industries had fallen by 19.1 per cent.
The decline in business revenue has pushed many firms to go bankrupt. By July almost 420,000 small businesses had closed since the start of the pandemic, the number of this many failures is usually registered in an entire year.
The consumer spending, which makes up over two-thirds of the US economy dropped by 12.6 per cent in April. Yet, according to the Wall Street Journal, the American consumers increased their spending in May by 8.5 per cent, and in June by a solid 5.6 per cent.
The increase in consumer spending was mainly triggered by the government aid distribution, more precisely the $1,200 checks for many individuals and a $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits.
Number of Unemployed Jobseekers on the Rise
Between March and April, employment in businesses with fewer than 20 employees fell more than 16 per cent, research by Brookings Institution shows, pointing out that for firms with 20 to 49 employees, the decline was 22 per cent.
Between August 30 and September, 5.5 per cent of respondents admitted they had not rehired any employees, while 5 per cent of respondents claimed they rehired at least one employee. 55 per cent of respondents had not furloughed any employees.
Data shows that in March the number of persons not in the labour force but who say they want a job increased by 4.5 million in April. Those who were left jobless in March and didn’t attempt to find another job through April are also included in this number.
Amongst the group of people out of the labour force but who want a job, six per cent reported they had been discouraged by their labour market prospects, and 16.7 per cent said they had another reason for not looking for work, as child-care responsibilities, issues with transportation, or illness.
Between March and April, the number of people not in the labour force but who want a job was high among adults of prime working-age 25-54, as many as 2.5 million.
Whereas on May 8, 2020, the Bureau of Labour Statistics published a report that said 20.5 million people lost their nonfarm jobs what caused the unemployment rate to increase to 14.7 per cent in April.
US GDP Drops By 32.9% in Second Quarter of 2020
According to a report of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US annual gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at a rate of 32.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, while in the first quarter, real GDP decreased by five per cent.
The decline registered in the second quarter of 2020 marked the deepest decline in output since the government started keeping records in 1947.
However, the drop was less than what economists asked by Reuters had foreseen, which was a drop of 34.1 per cent in the same period. A lower drop than foreseen is clearly the result of “stay home” orders, issued by the government in March and April, which were partially lifted in some areas of the country in the two following months. Throughout the same period, the government distributed pandemic assistance payments to households and businesses.
Americans Traveling Within the States During COVID-19
In the weekly report on travel spending within the US published by the US Travel Association – the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry in the country – in the week ending September 12, travel spending was at $12.7 billion, reflecting a 43 per cent drop below last year’s levels, which means a $9.4 billion loss.
Since the beginning of March, the US travel economy’s losses from the COVID-19 pandemic have exceeded $376 billion. Whereas, through the first 12 days of September, $14.2 billion in travel spending losses have accumulated. At this pace, spending losses will result in $36 billion for the entire month.
The number of states posting weekly losses of less than 40 per cent returned to 28 states, following the one-week surge to 39 states.
US Citizens Traveling Outside the Country
The number of Americans travelling abroad has drastically dropped. The main reason why Americans are travelling outside the country less then ever is not fear of catching COVID-19. An important reason is also the difficulty to make ends meet for a large share of the population, which makes it impossible for them to travel within or outside the states.
Another reason is that, travel restrictions and even entry bans imposed on American citizens make it impossible to travel to some countries and very hard to travel to some others
Currently, only ten countries are open to US nationals without any restrictions, and these are Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Zambia.
Whereas, other countries which are open to US citizens, but they impose measures as quarantine or COVID-19 testing are the following:
- Antigua and Barbuda -Negative Covid-19 test result within seven days
- Armenia – Negative Covid-19 test at airport or 14-day mandatory quarantine
- Aruba – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- The Bahamas – Negative Covid-19 PCR test result and 14 days of shelter in place at the hotel
- Bangladesh – Negative Covid-19 test result and 14-day home quarantine
- Barbados – Negative Covid-19 PCR test result within 72 hours, hotel quarantine and daily check for symptoms during the stay
- Bermuda – Negative Covid-19 test result within five days + $75
- Cambodia – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours + $2,000 Covid-19 deposit
- Costa Rica – Negative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours, travel insurance and health form
- Croatia – Negative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours
- Dominica – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Dubai – Negative Covid-19 PCR test result within 96 hours of arrival, travel insurance and health form
- Ecuador – Mandatory 14-day quarantine and negative Covid-19 test result within seven days
- Egypt – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Ethiopia – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours, 14-day quarantine
- French Polynesia – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Ghana – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Grenada – Negative Covid-19 rapid result test result on arrival
- Haiti – Mandatory 14-day quarantine
- Honduras – Negative Covid-19 rapid result test result on arrival
- Ireland – Self-isolate for 14 days
- Jamaica – Negative Covid-19 test result less than ten days old
- Kenya – Negative Covid-19 test result within 96 hours
- Maldives – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Malta – Must transit through a safe corridor country after staying 14 days in that country
- Montenegro – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Morocco – Negative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours and a serological test (can be outside 48 hours)
- Namibia – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours, second test on day 5 of visit
- Rwanda – Negative Covid-19 test result within 120 hours of departure
- South Korea – Mandatory 14-day quarantine
- Barts – Negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- Lucia – Negative Covid-19 test result within seven days
- Maarten – Negative Covid-19 test result within 120 hours
- Vincent and Grenadines – Negative Covid-19 test on arrival, additional test on arrival
- Tanzania – Covid-19 tests on arrival
- Turks and Caicos – Negative Covid-19 test result within five days
- United Kingdom – Self-isolate for 14 days
Americans Want US and EU to Abolish Entry Bans on Each Other’s Citizens – But the Number of Those Who Can Travel Is Lower than Ever
America’s favourite travel destination is Europe. However, both countries have kept their borders closed to each other’s citizens since the first half of March this year when they sealed off their borders to all foreigners in a bid to halt the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
While currently, the only EU countries that Americans can travel to are Croatia and the United Kingdom, no EU passport holder can travel to the US, except for essential purposes.
With the second wave of COVID-19 knocking at the EU’s doors, reopening the borders to EU citizens doesn’t seem like something that could happen anytime soon.
Yet, for months now, Americans have demanded from the US to reopen the borders to EU nationals and vice versa. They want to travel to Europe to meet their lovers, their friends, or even only for tourism purposes. But the number of those able to travel after the restrictions are lifted, possibly in 2021, will be lower than ever.
The economic impact of COVID-19 on potential travellers to Europe may push them to postpone their travel plans to a much later date when the economy resumes.
According to the International Air Transport Association, passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2024, as currently, the demand for air travel had dropped more than 90 per cent in Europe and the US since the outbreak of the pandemic.
At the same time, economists believe that the US economic growth will not return to its pre-pandemic level until 2022 or later.
All data shows that the number of Americans travelling abroad may return to pre-pandemic levels somewhere between 2022 and 2024, as prior to that, not only that some restrictions will remain effective even post-pandemic, but the economic difficulties which US citizens are encountering right now will make it harder for the majority to travel.