G20 vows to spur recovery in virus-hit tourism sector

G20 nations pledged Friday to cushion the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic on global tourism, one of the hardest-hit industries in which millions risk losing their jobs.

Covid-19 lockdowns have pounded international tourism, which is estimated to see a 45 percent decline this year according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

G20 tourism ministers pledged to ensure coordination as their countries ease lockdowns and travel restrictions, and to support the struggling industry’s recovery.

“We commit to helping tourism sector businesses… entrepreneurs and workers to adapt and thrive in a new post-crisis era,” the ministers said in a joint statement after a virtual meeting hosted by the group’s current president Saudi Arabia.

Up to 75 million jobs are at risk in the labour-intensive sector, they said, citing the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The tourism minister of Saudi Arabia, which last year issued its first tourist visas to boost the nascent sector, voiced hope the pandemic’s impact would be “short-term”.

“The sites are still there, hotels are still there, restaurants are still there, waiting for visitors to come back,” Ahmed al-Khatib told AFP.

Saudi tourism faces a sharp downturn just months after launching the new visas in September, vaunting ambitions to welcome 100 million visitors by 2030.

The kingdom has spent billions in an attempt to build a tourism industry from scratch, one of the main planks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to wean the economy off its decades-long dependence on oil revenues.

Saudi Arabia has splurged more than 500 million riyals ($133 million) to quarantine thousands of overseas travellers and those exposed to the virus in otherwise empty hotels around the kingdom, Khatib said.

The government is renting “complete hotels” for three or four months, Khatib added, offering a temporary lifeline to the struggling sector. – AFP

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

HealthMetrics secures a total of RM20 million as part of Series A funding

Corporate healthcare benefits and wellness management platform, HealthMetrics secured a total of USD$ 5 million (approximately RM 20 million) as part of...

WSP 2.0 – More is needed for the hard-hit sectors

By Afifah Suhaimi, The newly targeted Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 (WSP 2.0) introduced by the government under the Prihatin...

IJM Land’s latest residential project, Rimbun Jasmine receives overwhelming response

To help homebuyers in finding the right home and help achieve greater heights in life, IJM Land has launched Rimbun Jasmine, a...

AEON Credit posts PBT of RM76.5 million for Q2FYE21

AEON Credit Service (M) Berhad (“AEON Credit” or the “Company”) announced revenue for the second quarter ended 31 August 2020 (“Q2FYE21”) of...

AirAsia’s Santan set for rapid expansion in Malaysia

Santan, the world's first restaurant brand to offer inflight food on ground, is set for a rapid expansion in Malaysia with the...

Must read

PropTech and the pandemic

By Adrian Un, CEO, SkyBridge International Digitisation and PropTech (property technology) have been buzzwords in recent years, but following...

Empower local agility to unlock new business models post-Covid-19

By Scott Hensarling, Senior Client Partner and Tobjorn Karlsson, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry, 2020 has challenged many assumptions...

Don’t despair, targeted repayment assistance is available

By Azaddin Ngah Tasir, CEO of AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit), As the automatic blanket moratorium comes to...

Digital transformation for the retail CIO: Connecting digital with physical

By Bruce Richards, Senior Industry Marketing Manager – Retail & Consumer Goods, Adobe, Digital is certainly disrupting retail. Today’s...