The coronavirus epidemic is putting up to 75 million global travel and tourism jobs at “immediate risk” at a cost to the world economy of $2.1 trillion.

The latest projection by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents a 50% increase in jobs at risk in less than two weeks.

An “astounding” one million jobs are being lost every day in the sector, due to the sweeping effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asia-Pacific is expected to be most heavily impacted with up to 49 million jobs at risk throughout the region,representing a loss of nearly $800 billion to travel and tourism GDP.

The latest figures also suggest that in Europe, up to ten million jobs are at risk, totalling a loss of nearly $552 billion.

Germany is set to be the most affected country in Europe, with almost 1.6 million jobs at risk, followed by Russia with an estimated 1.1 million in potential job losses.

Italy and the UK follow as the third most impacted, with both countries projected to lose up to one million jobs in the sector.

The US, Canada and Mexico are expected to lose up to $570 billion combined, with nearly seven million jobs in jeopardy.

Other countries projected to be hit hard by this crisis include Brazil, the UK, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Indonesia and India. 

WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “The number of jobs now at risk in the global travel and tourism sector is a staggering 75 million, bringing real and profound worry to millions of families around the world.

“This chilling new figure also represents the collective delay by many governments around the world to react quickly enough to come to the aid of a sector which is the backbone of the global economy.

“If urgent action is not taken within the next few days, the travel and tourism sector faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover and plunge millions of people dependent upon it for their livelihoods into debt. 

Not only will this have an enormous negative impact on major businesses in the travel and tourism sector around the world, the ‘domino effect’ will also result in massive job losses across the entire supply chain, hitting employees and those in self-employment.

“We call on all those in positions of power to help the powerless and enact policies to support and sustain a sector which is a driving force of the global economy and responsible for generating one in five of all new jobs.”