The resumption of tourist activity is currently giving rise to many discussions. The dissemination of vaccines and the gradual lifting of travel restriction measures should promote an increase in tourism activity from the second half of 2021. The reopening, in early June, of the French borders to vaccinated American tourists is an example of this. However, to date, the consequences of the pandemic crisis on the future behavior of tourists and travelers are difficult to predict.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) a global body representing the private travel and tourism sector, met at a summit in Cancún (Mexico) at the end of April 2021, in order to discuss it. Among the participants, 20 ministerial delegations were present. The WTTC anticipates a change in travel consumption: “Travelers will no longer go to the same 20-30 destinations, they will instead go to small towns and rural communities and reconnect with nature.” These new destinations are also attractive from a health and safety point of view for tourists because they are less exposed to the risk of contamination by the virus.
In addition, these destinations represent an alternative to mass tourism: “Mass travel is to some extent giving way to meaningful and more conscious travel.” Green tourism, which integrates respect for nature and reducing the carbon footprint, as well as slow travel, which consists of immersing yourself in a place and staying there longer, could be called upon to develop. Emmanuel Macron also spoke at the summit as a representative of the first country. The President of the Republic has indicated that he wants to focus on public-private collaborations, job creation, investment and sustainability.
The WTTC hopes that 100 million jobs will be created globally in the next few years in tourism. He considers that:
- 62 million the number of jobs destroyed by the pandemic crisis;
- 3,800 billion euros the impact on global GDP.
The report published by the UN and the UNWTO on June 30, 2021, estimates that in 2020 alone, losses amount to 2,400 billion dollars. Forecasts by UNWTO and UN experts point to a drop of between $ 1.8 billion and $ 2.4 billion in 2021.
Some countries are more affected than others, such as Turkey, Ecuador or South Africa. The decline in tourism should cause Turkey to lose between 7.8% and 9.1% of its GDP while the loss for France will oscillate between 2.7% and 3.2%. The number of international tourist arrivals should not return to the level before the Covid-19 crisis before 2023or even later.