In 2019, global travel and tourism contributed an impressive $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP – a number so vast it’s hard to truly grasp but as a helping point, it looks like this written in full: $8,900,000,000,000.
It may feel like a lifetime ago, but crowds like with were the norm at Brazil’s famed Ipanema Beach. getty
Then Covid-19 reared its head and soon we were engulfed in a global pandemic that has shuttered borders, cancelled holidays and business trips, greatly reduced flight numbers and wreaked havoc on tourism and travel focused businesses of every conceivable kind. The result? In the first 10 months of 2020 alone, it cost the tourism industry $935 billion in revenue worldwide – or if we stick with our long-form representation, $935,000,000,000.
A sizable chunk then, but which individual countries have been worst affected by the downturn in travel? Well placed to research the answer is visa waiver firm Official ESTA, which has used data from the World Travel and Tourism Council and The World Bank to calculate not only the biggest revenue losses by country but also the highest percentage of GDP lost per country as well.
Few flights and even fewer passengers (but more leg room) are the new normal – but for how long? getty
Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the fact it has the most reported Covid-19 cases of any country, the USA has suffered the biggest single drop in tourism revenue with an eye-watering loss of $147,245 million over that ten month period from the start of 2020.
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