COVID-19 sparks a 55% collapse in the sector’s contribution to GDP
844,000 jobs have been lost due to the collapse of Travel & Tourism
However, the return of international travel this year could see GDP contribution rise sharply and jobs return
London, UK: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) today reveals that the dramatic collapse of Egypt’s Travel & Tourism sector wiped out a staggering $17.6 billion from the nation’s economy last year.
The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector’s impact on GDP dropped 55%.
Egypt’s Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP fell from $32 billion (8.8%) in 2019, to $14.4 billion (3.8%), just 12 months later, in 2020.
The year of damaging travel restrictions around the world, which brought much of international travel to a grinding halt, resulted in the loss of 844,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.
However, WTTC believes the true picture could have been significantly worse, if not for the government’s measures to keep the Travel & Tourism sector afloat and support its workers, such as the cash subsidy scheme, which offered a lifeline to thousands of businesses and workers.
These job losses were felt across the entire Travel & Tourism ecosystem in the country, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, particularly affected.
Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant. The number of those employed in the Egyptian Travel & Tourism sector fell from 2.4 million in 2019, to nearly 1.6 million in 2020 - a drop of more than a third (35%).
The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by almost a third (32.3%), while international spending fared much worse, due to more stringent travel restrictions, causing a fall of 74.5%.
Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President WTTC said: “The loss of 844,000 Travel & Tourism jobs in Egypt has had a significant socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people, who rely on a thriving sector, fearing for their future.
“Whilst there was no formal furlough scheme in place in Egypt, affected workers could receive a monthly subsidy for a period of three months, which at least offered a lifeline. The Egyptian Travel & Tourism sector also benefitted from a much needed three-billion-pound government loan directed to tourism and hotel establishments.
“We know thousands of SMEs, which make up the bulk of the ailing Travel & Tourism sector, are still fighting for their survival, putting at risk the capacity of the country to recover from the crushing impact of COVID-19.
“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the Egyptian economy.
“Egypt is an incredibly popular destination, and one which adopted our Safe Travels stamp many months ago, showing just how important the return safe international travel is, not only for businesses and jobs, but for the wider economy. Its borders have been open since last July, and we are confident in its ability to recover.
“WTTC applauds the announcement by Tourism and Antiquities Minister, Khaled al-Enani, to prioritise vaccination of Egyptian workers in the Travel & Tourism sector, an essential contributor to Egypt's economy."
WTTC says the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework to reopen international travel. All non-vaccinated travellers should face a comprehensive testing regime before departure, as well as enhanced health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask wearing.
These measures would be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic. It would also reduce the terrible social implications these losses have had on communities dedicated to Travel & Tourism and upon ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID-19 restrictions.
Download the press release.