In this photo provided by Michele Smith, a cruise ship worker cleans a railing on the Grand Princess Thursday, March 5, 2020, off the California coast. (Photo: AP)
MADRID, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Friday estimated a loss of 30 to 50 billion U.S. dollars in international tourism receipts in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Madrid-based UNWTO has revised its 2020 prospects for international tourist arrivals to a negative growth of 1 percent to 3 percent compared with a predicted positive growth of 3 percent to 4 percent prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is the UNWTO's first assessment of the impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus on the global tourism industry.
The organization expected the Asia and the Pacific region to be the worst-affected region, with "an anticipated fall in arrivals of 9 percent to 12 percent." However it says that estimates for other regions are "currently premature in view of the rapidly evolving situation."
For that reason, the UNWTO also added that "any estimate must be treated with caution and is likely to be updated."
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili noted that the economic damage of the reduction in tourist numbers will be felt across the whole tourism sector and pointed out that "small and medium sized enterprises make up around 80 percent of the tourism sector and are particularly exposed with millions of livelihoods across the world, including within vulnerable communities, relying on tourism."
However, the UNWTO also pointed out that the sector has shown itself in the past to be "highly resilient," and able to "bounce back strongly" and as such will be able to play a key part in future economic recovery.
It also called for financial and political support for recovery measure aimed at tourism, and to include support for the sector in the wider recovery plans and actions of affected economies.