Can international tourism ever recover?

airplane over beach

Travel restrictions are slowly being lifted, but most people are more likely to be jumping into their cars to go on holiday than onto an aircraft.

So, can international tourism ever recover? And might the slump force some countries to reorder their economic priorities?

Lessons from previous crises

The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) has looked at three periods which weighed on international travel over recent years: SARS, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and 9/11. The subsequent recoveries are shown in the chart below.

The current coronavirus crisis appears to be a rather potent cocktail of all three of these events: a viral epidemic more widespread than SARS, an economic downturn sharper than the GFC, and a fear of flying comparable to the aftermath of 9/11.

This points to a trough far greater than the 45% downturn in international travel seen nine months into the GFC. Indeed, data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed global demand in April, measured in revenue passenger kilometres or ‘RPKs’, as having plunged 94.3%.

View Full Article – published by Schroders on 1st July 2020