The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a loss of $766 billion in the US travel and tourism sector during last year after most countries all over the world suspended international flights to halt the further spread of the pandemic.

The data was revealed through research carried out by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and was presented through the annual Economic Impact Report (EIR).

The annual EIR has shown that the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the US has dropped by 41 percent. On the other hand, the figures show that the GDP of the country in 2019 was nearly $1.9 trillion.

WTTC explained that the travel and tourism sector supported more than 16.5 million jobs in the country in 2019, representing 10.5 percent of the total employment in the US. Whereas, during 2020, the jobs in the travel and tourism sector dropped to 11.1 million, a decline representing 7.5 percent of the total US employment.

Globally, the sector experienced a drop of 62 million, or 18.5 percent job losses only in 2020, VisaGuide.World reports.

“A restart of international travel will create more employment opportunities and empower a resurgence of the country’s economy. Our research shows that if mobility and international travel resumes by summer this year, the sector’s contribution to global Travel & Tourism GDP could rise sharply in 2021,” President and CEO of WTTC Gloria Guevara said.

Considering the vital role that international and domestic travel has in the US economy, the job losses and the tourist decrease were felt across the whole country, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up 80 percent of all businesses in the sector.

Furthermore, WTTC pointed out that domestic travel spending fell by 37.1 percent, while international travel spending fell by 76.7 percent in 2020. Thus, representing a decrease from $181.2 billion in 2019 to just $42.2 billion in 2020.

However, it was revealed that the travel and tourism sector in the US is consistently trending towards its recovery due to the actions taken by the Biden administration.

“WTTC applauds the Biden administration’s swift action to effectively fight against COVID-19. These steps are crucial in restarting international travel and reinvigorating the US economy through the travel sector,” Guevara stated.

Additionally, the $14 billion allocated to airlines, along with the fast vaccine rollouts, give hope to companies in regaining their losses and restoring the lost jobs across the sector.

WTTC believes that if international travel is restarted by June 2021, it will be possible for the US to recover its economy.

Except for the US, WTTC has also revealed that Germany’s travel and tourism sector lost €161 billion in 2020 due to the imposed travel restrictions to contain the further spread of the pandemic.