View of the almost empty beach of a resort in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico

Who’s most vulnerable to COVID-19’s impact on tourism?

Statista says that Mexico is the most vulnerable of the world’s largest economies due to COVID-19. This is because 15.5% of its GDP relies on the travel and tourism industry.

The online portal, which provides data on the global digital economy, has compiled a list of those likely to be worst affected. It bases its analysis on 2019 figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Italy and Spain are among the countries hit earliest and hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. They have more than 34,000 and 28,000 deaths at the time of this writing. Both Italy and Spain experienced the deadly force of the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 took the lives of more than 600,000 people globally. At the same time it brought public life to a standstill across the globe.

As if the deadly impact of COVID-19 weren’t enough, Italy and Spain are also among the countries most vulnerable to the economic fallout. They rely heavily on travel and tourism. It has come to a screeching halt in the past months and remains very limited to this day despite gradual reopenings.

Moreover, both countries have struggled economically even before the outbreak. They have high levels of public debt and unemployment rates among the highest of all OECD countries.

Based on data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), shows, travel and tourism contributed 14.3 and 13.0 percent, respectively, to Spain’s and Italy’s GDP last year. This includes direct contributions from hotels, travel agents, airlines, restaurants and others. As well as ripple effects from the billions of dollars that tourists bring to their shores.

United States less impacted

In the United States, the total impact of travel and tourism was considerably smaller at 8.6 percent of GDP.

Even at that lower rate, travel and tourism directly support more than 6 million jobs in the United States, with the total contribution to employment amounting to 16.8 million jobs in the U.S. according to WTTC.

The Mobility Market Outlook on COVID-19 says the global revenue for the travel and tourism industry will be an estimated 447.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. This is a decrease of around 34.7 percent from the previous year. Additionally, this is significantly lower than the original 2020 forecast of around 712 billion dollars.

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