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Travel 2020: Global tourism faces ‘crushing blow’ – will holidays ever be the same?

While it is impossible to gauge the full extent of disruption brought on by the pandemic, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has published estimates on how international tourist arrivals will be impacted in 2002.

The statistics were in light of three different scenarios for tourism, alas, even the most optimistic of the three showed a far-cry from the tourism figures global economies might normally anticipate.

According to Statista, in all cases, the global tourism industry will “suffer a crushing blow.”

In the most optimistic of scenarios, UNWTO looked at what would happen if borders reopened in early July.

However, it found that tourist arrivals worldwide would drop by 58 percent to just 610 million – this would set the industry back to around 1998 which was the last time the figure was so low.

READ MORE: Flights: Hygiene changes to airlines after COVID-19 – full list

Given its unprecedented nature, it is hard to know exactly how the future of travel might look, and whether the industry will be able to make a full recovery.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the travel industry was thriving, growing year-on-year, with international arrivals surging to 1.5 billion in 2019.

According to Statista, in the last two decades the industry has only been impacted by falling tourism figures twice – once in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak, and once in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

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Even in its worst days, however, it only saw a 4 percent drop.

When airlines do take to the skies again, however, holidays might be a far cry from the ones we used to know.

Air operators are implementing stringent safety measures, including mandatory wearing of face masks for cabin crew and passengers while onboard.

Meanwhile, airports around the world are testing new ways to ensure passengers are COVID-free before flying.

This includes methods such as temperature checks, or coronavirus tests upon arrival in certain countries.

Optimistically, thanks to these measures some countries are opening up their borders already.

Spain has announced it will be dropping its state of emergency on July 1, also ridding itself of its 14-day quarantine rule for international visitors.

Meanwhile, Greece and Portugal are also gearing up to welcome back tourists with new safety regulations being put in place.

Sadly, in the UK things aren’t as promising, with the government implementing a new two-week quarantine regulation for all international arrivals making holidays for Britons near-impossible.

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