Here’s why we shouldn’t be totally giving up on travel

The World Travel and Tourism Council has written an open letter to governments calling for support to save the travel industry.

man watching sunrise

It’s not a great time for travel.

But it’s not something we should be giving up on.

You will no doubt have seen the news dropped this week from the Qantas Group, Virgin Australia and a slew of cruise lines.

All are suspending operations. So, no international flights, little to no cruises, very few domestic flights and most importantly, no jobs for tens of thousands who work in the travel and hospitality industry in Australia alone. That number globally? Try somewhere in the vicinity of 50 million, reports Travel Weekly.

In response to this, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has written an open letter to governments calling for support to save the travel industry that has already been devastated and only seems to be facing even more difficult times ahead.


No one can doubt that we are in uncharted territory. The coronavirus pandemic means the world is facing a threat on multiple fronts not seen in peacetime.

The travel and tourism sector is uniquely exposed, and we estimate 50 million jobs globally are at risk. To put it bluntly, travel and tourism is in a fight for survival.

Travel is the backbone of economies around the world. It brings in essential currency and inward investment, creates jobs and stimulates every sector. WTTC figures show travel and tourism contributes to 10.4 per cent of global GDP and 320 million jobs. It is responsible for creating one in five new jobs and, for eight successive years, has outpaced the growth of the global economy.

Without travel and tourism, economies around the world face an existential threat.

To counter this, WTTC, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector.

Not soon. Not in a few weeks. Now. Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide.

Now is the time to take action. We propose three vital measures which will protect the survival of the millions of people who rely on travel and tourism for their livelihoods and welfare in the turbulent weeks and months ahead:

Firstly, financial help must be granted to protect the incomes of the millions of workers in the sector facing severe economic difficulties.

Secondly, governments must extend vital, unlimited interest-free loans to global travel and tourism companies as well as the millions of small and medium-sized businesses as a stimulus to prevent them from collapse.

Thirdly, all government taxes, dues and financial demands on the travel sector need to be waived with immediate effect at least for the next 12 months.

Travel and tourism companies are playing their part to protect their employees.

We propose three vital measures, which in addition to recovery funds, will protect a sector which is already facing collapse.

We are calling upon the world to take urgent and immediate action to prevent this global health crisis becoming a worldwide economic catastrophe. Doing nothing is not an option.

We implore every government to take drastic and decisive action now to preserve and protect the contribution of the travel and tourism sector, on which more than 320 million people and their families depend on for their livelihoods.

Yours sincerely,

Gloria Guevara, president and CEO, WTTC


Will you still travel throughout this crisis? What are your travel plans? What sort of travel will you do now that international travel is effectively off the table?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    21st Mar 2020
    I agree that the travel industry is facing serious difficulties in the coming months as are many other industries including those which depend on it such as cleaners and cabbies. However, Qantas has already been given a huge slice of taxpayer funds and has still promptly shed thousands of employees, so the special pleading for tax holidays and more funds just looks like a cash grab to me. Secondly, why should Australian taxpayers be obliged to prop up say, Virgin, which has not paid any tax in Australia at all?
    21st Mar 2020
    So true wombat, if they had pay their fair share of taxes then maybe they deserve help, I am sure they can live without their profits for a few months, they can just get some out of their tax free overseas places where they hoard it. But the workers deserve more, pay them annual leave on top of their normal leave to keep them going.
    21st Mar 2020
    Wombat you are telling the whole truth about Qantas. Yes they have stood down 20000 staff but they have not been made redundant or sacked. They are getting any holiday pay owing and Qantas are helping many get jobs with supermarkets who are currently recruiting to cope with demand.
    Things are tough yes but there is no need for your unfair criticism which just makes things worse for those affected especially when it is only opinion not truth.
    21st Mar 2020
    Australia is still open, travel locally.
    22nd Mar 2020
    Don't agree. I2 months ago, I researched and put down a deposit to hire a motorhome to travel Eastern Australia for 8 weeks. Commencing just after Easter this year.
    I have cancelled this booking. Why? - firstly, if I cancelled the booking much later, I would have been up for FULL payment of the hire fee. They would NOT waver from this. When I complained, after much haggling they would give me a credit, but still charge a 10% cancellation fee.
    I specifically chose this time to travel as was the cheapest time to book, and I have a LONG list of community events to go to, and places to see. Now most of those events have been cancelled, and I am not going to spend a large amount of money to simply drive around on roads. Some caravan parks have actually closed, or restricting to fully self contained only.

    Changing to a later date is not feasible due to prices increasing sometimes up to triple. Plus it's a double edged sword. Going to a small town, to spend money to support them. But a motorhome doesn't have much space, so don't want to be seen as an interloper buying items they too may be short off.
    A large amount of money simply to drive around, not see what I want to see, go where I want to go. I'm disappointed, but accepting.
    22nd Mar 2020
    Well I am only going by the emails I get from Big 4, Family Parks and camping and caravan companies saying there are many places still to visit, so maybe only encouraging short stays rather than big trips around, who knows, guess you have to ring around first, but if you only interested in nature, nature is still there to view (with a lot less international tourists too).
    21st Mar 2020
    All i know is that we booked and paid $10000 for a fly/road/cruise package for this October, and also paid over $1300 in insurance, but we are in limbo.
    We'll be holidaying in Australia only after this (if we can afford it).
    21st Mar 2020
    Hopefully it will all be fine by then, will not be winter anymore, guess it depends on where you are going.
    Baby Huey
    22nd Mar 2020
    My wife and I were forced to cancel due to the closing of borders a long trip in early May to the UK and Scotland. We have found generally van hire and accommodation have been very good about cancellations without charging fees or hassles. However, the airlines have been another story. We paid for the flights when we book last September. One of the airlines will only waive fees if we fly within one year of the booking or forfeit the fare. On current information it is unlikely that we will, even if we wanted, be able to travel in September this year. The situation with the airlines is very fluid at the moment. Hopefully, they will change their policies for rebooking or refunds.
    23rd Mar 2020
    Fin Air gave us a full refund on cancellation. Virgin Airlines are broke, have been for ages, we should not be rescuing this company.

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