Just how brutally impactful are the times we’re facing? According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, one million jobs in the travel sector are being lost every day, with all signs pointing to that number accelerating in coming months. With an estimated 300 million workers in travel related industries around the world, that leaves less than a year for any travel business, at the current rate.

While most headline news centers around airlines, hotels and multi billion dollar businesses, the WTTC has found that small and medium sized business are among those most at risk.

a sunset seen through a windowEveryone from tour operators to travel agents and sole traders are particularly vulnerable, as the worlds transit links are cut off. No travel, no tourists, no income. Gloria Guevara, President of the WTTC weighed in on the issue…

“It is heartbreaking that the livelihoods of millions of people who have dedicated their lives to the Travel & Tourism sector are being decimated; from waiters to taxi drivers, guides to chefs and caterers, pilots to cleaners.

The relentless cascade of job losses is plunging millions of families into terrible hardship and debt, fearful of how to buy food and pay their bills. The domino effect of Covid-19 is right now having a massive impact, wiping out an entire economic sector.”

Businesses which were focusing on long term growth are now struggling to secure three month contingency plans, from airlines to hotels and beyond. The last five years saw a rapid boom in travel, as low cost airlines filled the skies with record passenger numbers and sharing economy options created new opportunities across all of travel.

The big question for all effected, or wanting to help, is what now?

Girona, Spain.The WTTC has urged governments to pursue a three point plan, including extending vital, unlimited interest-free loans to provide liquidity to large and small Travel & Tourism businesses to prevent them from collapse, and to waive or remove all dues, taxes or fiscal charges for 12 months that affect cash flow which can be critical to businesses survival.

While so much uncertainty remains around when a return to safe travel will be, that doesn’t mean that you too can’t help out the travel industry. GSTP has a list temporary measures anyone can follow to help support the industry, and in general terms, making bookings for later in 2020, or into 2021 can help provide vital cash flow to businesses in need.

Basically, if you feel optimistic about the future and have cash on hand, it’s great to make a travel booking right now, particularly given the flexible terms being offered by airlines, hotels and tour operators to help encourage them. We’re all in this together.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Why would someone make travel plans for a year from now? It’s not even clear what airlines and hotels will be in business then.

    And while this pandemic is unlikely to go beyond six months, the chaos it will cause in the economy is hard to predict.

    Wiser advice: hang on to your money.

  2. The lost jobs are your fault, Gil, since you’re staying at home instead of following your own advice and taking advantage of all the deals out there.

    1. I booked $5,000 in travel deals this week, and the flights I’m not able to take this month I’m taking the vouchers for, rather than refunds. Care to reconsider?

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