International tourism spend tumbles by $753.6bn in 2020

posted on 8th February 2021 by Eddie Saunders
International tourism spend tumbles by $753.6bn in 2020

Research by Hoo, the hotel room offer platform, has estimated that the global tourism industry has endured an estimated loss of $753.6bn as a result of Covid, and that’s across the top 50 countries alone with the total impact likely to be far higher.

Hoo analysed data from the World Tourism Organization on international tourism receipts across the top 50 global tourism destinations, looking at pre-covid levels, the estimated decline as a result of the pandemic, and what this means in financial terms for the industry.

The figures show that in 2019, international tourism receipts totalled $1,302.5 bn, with the United States accounting for the highest tourism spend at $214.1bn.

However, based on the estimated impact of the pandemic, Hoo’s research shows that this fell to just $548.9bn in 2020; a decline of -57.9% and a loss of $753.6bn in tourism revenue.
The Far East has endured the largest losses from a lack of international tourism, with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and Malaysia seeing international tourism receipts freefall by between 80% to 90%.

Spain and Greece are easily among the worst hit of Europe’s major holiday destinations with 75% and 78% losses respectively, although almost all European nations have lost half their revenue.

Japan has also suffered one of the largest declines at 75%. A world away from the heightened levels of tourism they were anticipating due to hosting the since postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo.

India has fared best in terms of overall market size. While the country has seen international tourism receipts decline by $2.7bn in 2020, this equates to just a -8.8% drop which is the smallest of all nations.

The worst hit when looking purely at the monetary decline has been the United States. With the US suffering from widespread political unrest as well as Covid, international tourism receipts have dropped by $125bn to just $89.1bn in 2020.

Spain has seen the second largest monetary decline in international tourism revenue, with tourism receipts tumbling by $59.9bn to just $19.8bn in 2020.

Thailand ($38.4bn), Japan ($34.6bn), Macao ($33.2bn), France ($30bn), Italy ($28.1bn), the UK ($26.7bn), Hong Kong ($26.3bn) and Turkey ($20.4bn) also rank amongst the worst hit in terms of the year on year decline in actual spend via international tourism receipts.

Belgium has seen the smallest impact with a decline of $1.7bn, however, this still represents a notable -19.6% fall year on year.

Hoo Co-founder, Adrian Murdock, commented:

“We’re now starting to get an idea as to the extent of the pandemic’s impact on global tourism over the last year and it’s quite staggering, to say the least.

It’s fair to say that the industry has been decimated due to Covid, with widespread travel restrictions causing drastic declines in tourism revenue pretty much across the board.
Unfortunately, as we stand it looks as though things will be getting worse before they get better, with 2021 yet to see a return to normality and bringing even tighter restrictions, if anything.

There’s no doubt that once these restrictions do lift, there will be an almost insatiable appetite for travel and this will bring an immediate boost to the industry. The question is, how much longer will businesses need to hold on to see those better days?”