Left Menu
Development News Edition

Sudden fall in tourism could devastate economies of Small Island states: UNWTO

In the second of its Briefing Note series on Tourism and COVID-19, UNWTO has highlighted the severe impact the pandemic could have on livelihoods in these destinations.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Madrid | Updated: 29-06-2020 22:45 IST | Created: 29-06-2020 22:45 IST
Sudden fall in tourism could devastate economies of Small Island states: UNWTO
According to the latest data from the United Nations specialized agency, tourism accounts for more than 30% of total exports in the majority of the 38 SIDS. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Without strong support, the sudden and unexpected fall in tourism could devastate the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has warned. Since tourism is a strong socio-economic pillar of many SIDS, the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector places millions of jobs and businesses at risk, with women and informal workers the most vulnerable.

In the second of its Briefing Note series on Tourism and COVID-19, UNWTO has highlighted the severe impact the pandemic could have on livelihoods in these destinations. According to the latest data from the United Nations specialized agency, tourism accounts for more than 30% of total exports in the majority of the 38 SIDS. In some countries, this proportion is as high as 90%, making them especially vulnerable to falling tourist numbers.

Such a major shock translates into a massive loss of jobs and a sharp decline in foreign exchange and tax revenues, which curbs public spending capacity and the ability to deploy necessary measures to support livelihoods through the crisis, UNWTO further warns.

International tourist arrivals have fallen dramatically, and destinations that rely on the sector for jobs and economic wellbeing such as small islands will be hit the hardest

International Tourists dropped 47% in the first four months

In 2019, SIDS welcomed some 44 million international tourist arrivals and the sector earned US$55 billion in export revenues. International tourist arrivals were down 47% in the first four months of this year.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption. International tourist arrivals have fallen dramatically, and destinations that rely on the sector for jobs and economic wellbeing such as small islands will be hit the hardest. As such, measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on these states and to stimulate the recovery of tourism are now more critical than ever."

Informal workers and women at greatest risk

The United Nations estimates that SIDS economies could shrink by 4.7% in 2020 as compared to 3% for the world economy.

The UNWTO Briefing Note also highlights the risk posed to those working in the informal economy by the sudden fall in tourist arrivals in SIDS. As a sector, tourism is a leading global employer and, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than half of all workers in the accommodation and food services sector in most SIDS reporting data are women. In many, this proportion is even higher, including in Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago (70%+).

At the same time, workers in the informal economy are at risk of falling into poverty as the impact of COVID-19 is felt in SIDS and other low- and middle-income countries worldwide, UNWTO also warns.

(With Inputs from APO)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

Google selects Mississippi site for 1st US operations centre

Googles first US operations centre is coming to northwest Mississippi. The company announced Thursday it will lease a new 60,000-square-foot 5,574 square-meter facility in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis, Tennessee. Google expects t...

Morocco extends coronavirus emergency decree until Aug 10

Morocco extended on Thursday an emergency decree until Aug. 10 giving local authorities leeway in taking restrictive measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The cabinet maintained the decree in force to allow for restoring lockdow...

Bengal govt delegation meets locals to allay concerns over Deocha-Pachami coal project

A high-level delegation led by West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Thursday held discussions with locals to allay their concerns over the Deocha-Pachami coal mining project in Birbhum. The state government is keen to kickstart the p...

U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs Trump's immunity claim, lets prosecutor get financial records

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday firmly rejected President Donald Trumps argument for sweeping presidential immunity and ruled that a New York prosecutor can obtain his financial records but prevented - at least for now - Democratic-led H...

Give Feedback