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Poor countries stand to lose $1.4 trillion because of vaccine related travel restrictions7 min read

July 9, 2021 5 min read

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Poor countries stand to lose $1.4 trillion because of vaccine related travel restrictions7 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you remember the time when you could travel freely? When you could just hop on a plane for an overseas adventure? Or go for a road trip culminating at your grandparent’s home? Simpler times!

Image: Giphy

But there is a lot more to travel than the sheer joy of its experience!

Countries thrive on tourism, and the travel industry. For instance, people from all over the world come to India to see the Himalayas, the Taj Mahal, the backwaters of Kerala, the tea gardens of Darjeeling, the mustard field in Punjab, the sandy beaches of Goa and………the list can go on! Now, think about all that goes in the process of travelling, within the country and internationally:

1. You book a ticket, and make reservations.
2. You take some mode of transport to get to your destination, where there is staff to help you, right from the driver (or pilot etc) to the server (or flight attendant).
3. You go to your hotel where there is staff that looks after your every need (right from housekeeping to meals, from ironing to laundry).
4. Then you take a vehicle to go to places of sight seeing.
5. You may even buy a souvenir from here from the local flea market.
6. You meet a tourist guide who takes you to other spots worth seeing.

In all this, you have met so many people engaged in the tourism industry whose livelihood depends on such visits, right from the person who drove your cab to the person selling souvenirs. Such visits boost local economy by bringing in money from the outside. Therefore, there is more to the pleasure of travelling than meets the eye. It is a very strong way to boost the financial situation of specific city, state, or country. In 2017, tourism and travel industry contributed 15.24 lakh crore to India’s GDP!

GDP is the measure of the health of an economy. It measures the total value of goods and services produced in a country. A rising GDP is a sign of a healthy economy.

While vaccination drives seem to be underway in full swing, vaccines are being rolled out on an uneven basis all over the world, and acceptance of certain vaccines remains under question. To refresh your memory, here’s an entryway into Owliver’s archives on vaccine info from around the world:

Developing countries are heavily dependent on tourism, and the pandemic has thwarted any economic projections that factored in support from this industry.

A report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation stated that the fall in international tourism on the arrival of COVID-19 could cost the global economy 2.4 trillion USD! Now, that’s more zeroes than our eyes can keep up with.

Image: Giphy

And this is happening despite the fact that with each passing day, more of the world’s population is getting vaccinated. However, at present only 10% of the world’s population is vaccinated. Even in countries like United Kingdom where vaccination drives have gained decent momentum, travel restrictions are coming in the way of tourism. The situation is even more severe in developing countries where vaccination rates continue to be low. Countries with more than 50% vaccination rate have experienced a slump in tourist arrivals to the tune of 37% while countries with low vaccination rates are seeing a reduction of 75%!

Worst hit are Turkey, Ecuador and South Africa and islands including Maldives and Saint Lucia. Even large parts of Asia and Oceania are deeply affected.

Oceania is a region spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. 

The report has considered losses to tourism and allied industries like that which provide food, beverages, accommodation and transport to the tourism sector.

While travel rebound has been experienced in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, developing nations continue to suffer either due to vaccine shortage or travel restrictions. The nations have experienced a drop anywhere between 60-80% in tourist arrivals. The share of loss of tourism in the developing nations will amount to 60% of the total global GDP loss. This could cause the world economy a loss of 4.8 trillion USD for 2020 and 2021, with the share of the developing nations being a whooping 2.9 trillion USD.

This loss in tourism will have a ripple effect on other aspects of the economy. It will lead to a 5.5% increase in unemployment for unskilled labour on an average. This also implies that the jobs of 100 million and 120 million tourism professionals are in peril.

The report believes that travel can be restarted when traveler confidence is established, easy and inexpensive testing can be provided, and faster vaccination drives can be conducted.

Many experts believe that travel will reach its normal cadence only in 2024. That sure seems far away! Till then, we can dream about packing our bags, and mull over the next destination we will like to see. How about serving the needs of the developing nations? After all, there is much beauty to witness and many experiences to enjoy here as well! Where will you like to go? Tell Owliver in the comments, below.

Sourced from CNN Business

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