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UN Says Impact of Pandemic on Global Tourism Is Devastating

Over 120 million jobs are at risk.
IMAGE THANASSIS STRAVRAKIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The United Nations chief says the tourist industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with $320 billion lost in exports in the first five months of the year and over 120 million jobs at risk.


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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a policy briefing and video address released on August 25 that tourism is the third-largest export sector, behind fuels and chemicals, and accounted for 7 percent of trade last year.

"It employs one in every 10 people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more," he said. "It boosts economies. … It allows people to experience some of the world's cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity."

But the U.N. chief said that in the first five months of 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, international tourist arrivals decreased by more than half.

Guterres said the tourism impact of COVID-19 has been a "major shock" for richer developed nations "but for developing countries, it is an emergency, particularly for many small island developing states and African countries."

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Tourism for some of those countries represents over 20 percent of their GDP, he said.

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