The global travel industry will record at least 850 million fewer international trips this year than last, according to latest UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures.

The UNWTO issued its most-up-to-date projections noting that although travel is beginning to restart “most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations”, restrictions remain in place “in most destinations worldwide”.

It forecast between 850 million and 1.1 billion fewer international trips this year than last and a loss of revenue of between $910 billion and $1.2 trillion.

The UNWTO warned more than 100 million jobs in tourism are at risk.

The forecasts are based on three scenarios of increasing severity resulting in declines in international visitor numbers ranging from 58% to 78%, depending on whether international travel resumes on a significant scale in July, September or December.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili praised the EU, France and Spain for supporting the sector, saying: “We welcome the steps undertaken by the EU and individual countries, including France and Spain, to support tourism economically.”

But he said: “Until tourism’s restart is underway everywhere, UNWTO calls for strong support for the sector to protect jobs and businesses.”

Pololikashvili added: “It is vital that the restart of tourism is made a priority and managed responsibly, with health and safety as the sector’s number-one concern.”

 

The UNWTO noted international tourist arrivals in April were down 97% year on year and 44% down for January to April, translating into a loss of $195 billion in international tourism receipts.

The Asia-Pacific region was hit hardest in the period with arrivals down 51%. Europe saw a 44% decline in the four months to April.