United Nations Emphasizes Domestic Tourism’s Economic Potential
In a recent online briefing, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) informed that the coronavirus pandemic might inflict a massive loss amounting to $1.2 trillion on the tourism industry globally and could cost 100 million jobs. Still, investment in domestic tourism might help mitigate some of this colossal loss. Saudi Arabia has been focusing on boosting domestic tourism which will contribute to minimizing the economic impact, it is hoped.
UNWTO briefed that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating impact on international tourism and that it will have a lingering impact on the industry in the foreseeable future.
Director of the UNWTO Department of Institutional Relations and Partnerships, Zoritsa Urosevic, informed that tourism accounts for a significant seven percent of world trade and added that the pandemic’s effects would be devastating.
According to her, tourism revenues could fall in the range of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in 2020, which will alone reduce global Gross Domestic Product by 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. The impact will be most severe on youth, women, and informal workers.
While the predictions of UNWTO are a thing to worry about, they also offer a glimmer of hope for the tourism industry’s future in so far as domestic travel and more investment in local tourism infrastructure are likely to happen. According to Sandra Carvao, UNWTO’s chief of market intelligence and competitiveness, the potential of domestic tourism is often underestimated.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists are less willing to travel internationally, and many countries have also imposed restrictions on travel. This will, it is hoped, give a significant boost to the domestic tourism industry worldwide.
Carvao also feels that nature-based tourism, road trips, rural tourism, and open-air experiences, in particular, will see increased demand across countries of the world. Under such circumstances, countries like Saudi Arabia, which have been trying to push domestic tourism, will stand to benefit more and will be better able to offset the negative economic impact of the pandemic on the industry. In fact, Saudi Arabia has a lot of opportunities for rural tourism with many sites that domestic travelers can explore.
As Saudi Arabia and, for that matter, the rest of the world are getting accustomed to the new realities (read new normal), the domestic tourism industry will bear more significance in terms of boosting revenue growth and offering more economic opportunities. Saudi Arabia has its plans ready in the form of ‘Saudi Summer’ launched in June this year by the Tourism Ministry and will cash in on the existing avenues that its domestic tourism sector has to offer. The Kingdom plans to boost domestic tourism while maintaining adequate safeguards to ensure its citizens’ health and safety.
It is hoped that globally, countries can expect to earn good revenues by promoting domestic tourism, which will help minimize the disastrous economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.