March 3, 2024

WTTC: 2.4m job losses in UK travel sector

By Bev Fearis, published 04/11/20

The UK’s travel and tourism sector could lose 2.4 million jobs this year if barriers to global travel remain in place, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The new figure, which equates to more than half of all jobs in the sector, comes from the WTTC’s latest economic modelling, which looks at the impact of Covid-19 and travel restrictions.

The WTTC said some 1.9 million jobs in the UK have already been impacted and warned that if there is no immediate alleviation of travel restrictions, as many as 2.4 million jobs would be lost in total.

The figure is an improvement from the 2.9 million job losses predicted in a previous study in June this year, thanks to a small gain partly driven by the introduction of quarantine-free air corridors in June and a rise in domestic travel.

But the WTTC estimates the impact of prolonged travel restrictions could wipe out £124 billion in the sector’s contribution to UK GDP, 62% down on 2019.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The depth of the long-term crisis facing the UK travel and tourism sector, if restrictions on travel continue in the months ahead, is evident from the latest WTTC figures.

“We fully understand that protecting public health is the number one priority. However, the sector’s recovery will be delayed even further unless countries implement measures to reactivate travel responsibly, such as the implementation of a testing protocol for travellers.

“It is vital that air corridors are restored between the world’s leading financial hubs, such as the hugely important London-New York route or London-Dubai, to help kick-start the UK and global economic recovery and avoid the devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences which lie ahead.

“It is clear that only international cooperation at the highest level, and engagement with the public and private sector, can save the beleaguered sector as it continues its fight for survival.

“We need to learn to co-exist with this virus and measures should be in place to reactivate both inbound and outbound travel responsibly and avoid the economic and social hardship. A number of countries are doing this successfully, such as China, which has shown a particularly strong recovery of its domestic market.”