The Top Ten Countries in Terms of Lost Tourism Revenue
Visa Waiver processing firm, Official ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), has released a new report that reveals which countries have suffered the largest revenue losses as a result of the current global health crisis.
“As travel came to a standstill for many months, countries around the world that rely on tourism for their economy and jobs are now seeing significant drops in revenue and GDP,” commented Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at Official ESTA. “Taking into account how travel and tourism contributes $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP alone, it is devastating to see a total loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020 alone.”
Read on to discover the top ten countries ranked according to the number of tourism dollars lost in just the first four months of 2020.
1. United States
With the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases in one country, the United States takes the top spot with a loss of $30,709 million in tourism revenue seen within just the first four months of 2020. By the end of March, 31 out of the 50 states had gone into lockdown and the State Department had issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory urging citizens to avoid international travel and arrange for immediate return if they happened to be already abroad. An entry ban was also placed on anyone coming from the European Schengen zone, the United Kingdom or Ireland.
European countries account for half of the top ten most financially impacted countries on the list. By June, Spain was reporting a 98-percent drop in international arrivals and takes second place for the most tourism dollars lost as a result of the pandemic, with revenue down by $9,741 million. Just as its COVID-19 outbreak was brought under control enough to allow foreign tourists to return, the United Kingdom imposed a quarantine order on residents returning from Spain, deterring many potential travelers who typically go there on their summer holidays.
France is the most-visited country in the world, playing host to 89 million tourists each year. But, in 2020, COVID-19 cost the country $8,767 million in tourism revenue, which positions it third on the list overall and second among the most-impacted countries in Europe.
Thailand, which has done well in terms of keeping COVID-19 contagion at bay and has gone 87 days without reporting a single new case, has stated that it doesn’t intend to reopen its borders to international travelers until next year. In the first four months of 2020 alone, the Southeast Asian nation lost $7,822 million in tourism revenue as a result of the pandemic.
As part of the Schengen zone that was an earlier epicenter of COVID-19 infection, Germany was among the European countries that locked down its borders back in March, which resulted in a loss of $7,225 million in tourism revenue. It has since reopened to travelers originating from within the European Union, Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
As the virus spread through Europe back in March, Italy quickly became a hub of contagion, which forced the entire country into a strict lockdown for several weeks. Movement between the country’s region was prohibited, and residents were ordered to remain in their homes except to attend their employment or in emergencies. Without the typical flow of tourism, Italy saw $6,187 million slip through its fingers in the first four months of this year.
7. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (U.K.) was one of the few countries that didn’t close its borders or immediately impose a 14-day quarantine restriction on inbound travelers, though it did finally put one into effect in June. As a result, the countries infection rate escalated, and many countries have banned visitors coming from the U.K. and cautioned their citizens against traveling there. In the first four months, the U.K. missed out on $5,816 million.
Australia has had a doozy of a year thus far. Widespread bushfires raged around the continent at the start of 2020, with COVID-19 following close behind. The Land Down Under lost $5,674 million in tourism revenue through April 2020.
Along with neighboring New Zealand, Australia was commended for responding reasonably well to the outbreak, putting protective protocols in place among its citizens and banning foreign visitors from entering. Amid a second wave of COVID-19 that’s cropped up recently, Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that its unlikely Australia will open its borders to international travel until 2021.
Japan, which had been set to host the now-postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, was expecting to see some big bucks generated by the event’s accompanying spectators, athletes and their entourages. Aside from that particular loss, the island nation also lost $5,428 million in just the first four months of 2020 as tourism disappeared.
Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, was the first to implement a COVID-19 testing requirement for all incoming air travelers back in April, and, in May, began trials of a full-body sanitizing machine at Hong Kong International Airport. All foreign arrivals are also required to quarantine for fourteen days at their hotel or residence. In the absence of its usual tourism activity, this bustling Asian epicenter lost $5,020 million in revenue within the first four months of 2020.
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