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The losses suffered by the U.S. aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic are well-documented.
At one point in April of 2020, capacity across the board was down to five percent of what it was on the same date a year prior. Domestic airlines twice needed to be bailed out by the federal government. Although travel has come back in the last month or so, the airlines are still struggling to balance out their workforces against the amount of travelers.
And still, it was not the U.S. that suffered the most during the pandemic.
A new World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Trends Report reveals that Asia-Pacific suffered the greatest gross domestic product (GDP) losses during the pandemic. And, in fact, due to a quicker than expected domestic recovery, America has been the least hit.
The report reveals the full dramatic impact of travel restrictions designed to curb COVID-19 on the global economy, individual regions and job losses worldwide.
Asia-Pacific was the worst-performing region, with the sector’s contribution to GDP dropping a damaging 53.7 percent, compared to the global fall of 49.1 percent.
International visitor spending was particularly hard hit across Asia Pacific, falling by 74.4 percent, as many countries across the region closed their borders to inbound tourists. Domestic spending witnessed a lower but equally punishing decline of 48.1 percent.
However, despite this decline, Asia-Pacific remained the largest region for the sector’s employment in 2020, accounting for 55 percent (151 million) of all global travel and tourism jobs.
The report also revealed the European travel and tourism sector suffered the second biggest economic collapse last year, dropping 51.4 percent (€987 BN). This significant and damaging decline was in part due to continuing mobility restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
Despite a 42.4 percent decline in travel and tourism GDP in 2020, the Americas was the least affected major region globally.
As a result, it remained the largest region in terms of its economic importance, accounting for 35 percent of global direct travel and tourism GDP.