Virus cost global tourism $460 billion in January-June: UN

Teenagers wearing a face mask stroll past a restaurant across Rome's Jewish Quarter on September 15, 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (AFP)
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Updated 15 September 2020

Virus cost global tourism $460 billion in January-June: UN

  • The last time international tourist arrivals posted an annual decline was in 2009

MADRID: The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $460 billion in lost revenue during the first six months of 2020 as the number of people traveling plunged, the UN said Tuesday.
Revenue lost between January and June amounted to “around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis,” the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said in a statement.
International tourist arrivals fell by 440 million during the period, or 65 percent, with Asia, the first region to feel the impact of Covid-19, seeing the steepest decline, it added.
“This represents an unprecedented decrease, as countries around the world closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic,” the Tourism Organization said.
While tourism is slowly returning to some destinations, the UN body warned that “reduced travel demand and consumer confidence” would continue to hurt the sector for the rest of the year.
It predicted international tourist arrivals will plunge by around 70 percent in 2020 owing to the coronavirus.
International tourism arrivals rose by four percent in 2019 to 1.5 billion, with France the world’s most visited country, followed by Spain and the United States.
The last time international tourist arrivals posted an annual decline was in 2009 when the global economic crisis led to a four percent drop.
The UN body said it expects it will take two to four years for tourist arrivals to return to 2019 levels.


Saudi Arabia to host ‘virtual’ G20 meeting on oil markets

Updated 27 September 2020

Saudi Arabia to host ‘virtual’ G20 meeting on oil markets

  • Energy ministers will also discuss plans for ‘green’ economic recovery from ravages of coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: Energy ministers from the G20 countries under the presidency of Saudi Arabia will meet virtually on Sunday to discuss volatile oil markets and plans for a “green” recovery from the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kingdom is strongly backing a “circular carbon economy” strategy to remove harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

The two-day event is the second time this year that energy policymakers have come together, following the historic meeting last April that helped stabilize crude markets in meltdown.

Markets have since recovered and the price of benchmark Brent crude has more than doubled, but doubts about their resilience have resurfaced amid fears of a “second wave” of economic lockdowns.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister and chairman of the G20 event, has highlighted the need for tight discipline by members of the OPEC+ oil producers’ alliance to combat market “uncertainty.” 

“If we are serious about mitigating the impact of the shock and navigating through these extraordinary times, this is our only path,” he said.

The G20 said ministers would discuss ways to “strengthen collaboration toward market stability and security and discuss promoting and advancing sustainable energy systems through the Circular Carbon Economy platform,” and address “advancing universal access to energy and clean cooking for all.”

There is consensus on the need to mitigate harmful emissions, but some European countries and nongovernmental organizations are believed to be pressing for a stronger stance on fossil fuels.

The Saudi strategy, supported by the US and Russia, is for a more inclusive stance on hydrocarbon resources, while simultaneously promoting renewable sources such as solar and wind.