Coronavirus and Meetings
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Rising concerns over the coronavirus outbreak have resulted in thousands of cancelled flights, and major attractions such as Broadway are now shutting down for the next few weeks. In total, the World Travel & Tourism Council estimates coronavirus could put as many as 50 million jobs in the travel and tourism industry at risk.
The latest figures from WTTC suggest global travel could shrink 25 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19. This equates to a three-month loss of global travel and could result in a 12-14 percent reduction in industry jobs.
"The COVID-19 outbreak clearly presents a significant threat to the industry as a whole, to those employed within it and those wishing to continue traveling," said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO. "Travel and tourism have the strength to overcome this challenge and will emerge stronger and more robust by taking all necessary measures to tackle COVID-19 and the understandable concern which surrounds it."
WTTC issued a series of recommendations to help the travel and tourism sector recover once the coronavirus outbreak has been contained. This includes:
- Removing or simplifying the visa process wherever possible to improve travel facilitation
- Relaxing or removing unnecessary barriers at ports and airports
- Reducing or eliminating traveler taxes, such as Air Passenger Duty
- Establishing relief programs and incentives for companies that have been negatively affected by coronavirus
- Increasing budgets and resources for destination marketing and promotion
"At this time, WTTC reinforces the importance of strong public-private partnerships and greater international cooperation in order to respond to and overcome the challenges faced by the sector during the management and recovery from COVID-19," noted the organization. "The travel and tourism sector has a proven track record of resilience in the face of crises and this ability to bounce back has improved significantly in recent years."