Long before the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a global pandemic on 11 March, governments worldwide started imposing precautionary measures to contain the spread of the disease.
With more than 1.5 million infections and 90,000 deaths, people around the world have been directed to observe self-isolation. More than 3.9 billion people are under complete lockdown enforced by governments to contain the virus from spreading.
As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc and keeps half of the world at home, the travel and tourism sector continues to sustain unprecedented damage.
Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Expedia Group, and Kayak are amongst the big players in the travel and tourism industry. All of these companies have reported a sharp decline in traffic on their websites.
Take a look at the traffic graph for February and March below.
Between February 1st and 29th, there are sharp ups and downs in traffic volume on these websites. However, the traffic starts taking a significant dip after 1st March. The decline is tangible after 11th March, the day COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
As of 31st March, Booking.com reported just over 3.4 million, Tripadvisor 1.6 million, Airbnb 1.1 million, Expedia 604,000, and Kayak 223,000 active users.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector accounts for 319 million jobs around the world and 10% of the global GDP. The industry contributed $8.8 trillion to the global economy in 2018.
WTTC has projected that the COVID-19 pandemic can render 50 million people linked with the sector jobless. Of the 50 million jobs lost, 30 million would be in Asia alone.
It will take more than 10 months for the travel and tourism sector to recover completely from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic once it is under control, according to WTTC.