While we’re all aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted a particularly devastating blow to the travel and tourism industry over the past several weeks, updated analyses and new impact assessments are coming together to form a more comprehensive view of the damage that’s being done by the locked-down status of our society.
Though an overview of the numbers isn’t uplifting, it does communicate a sense of the true seriousness of the situation in which the travel sector now finds itself.
According to an Oxford Economics impact analysis, COVID-19 will have cost eight million people working in the U.S. travel industry their jobs by the end of this month. The firm predicted that travel-related employment losses alone will push America’s overall unemployment rate up to 8.4 percent (from the current 6.6 million) by the end of April 2020.
Based on information from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Forbes discovered that close to four million jobs in the U.S. hotel industry have either already been axed or will be eliminated within the next few weeks. That’s 70 percent of hotels’ direct employees, with hotel workers collectively losing out on $2.4 billion in earnings each week. The U.S. Travel Association projected that job loss would be closer to 4.6 million by the end of May.
Based upon passenger-screening counts from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), air passenger traffic has decreased by 95 percent compared to the same period in 2019. CNN said that experts opined that the majority of those passing through airport security were airline crew members or healthcare workers bound to provide aid in COVID-19 hot spots.
Experts estimate that at least 50 percent of the world’s aircraft are currently grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts at Cowen Investment Bank told CNN. Advocacy group Airlines for America reported that over 2,700 U.S. aircraft are now sitting idle. At the rate things are going, up to 80 percent of global fleets could end up grounded due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, said Peter Harbison, chairman of the industry group Centre for Aviation.
Declines in travel spending are estimated to cost the U.S. government $80 million in tax revenue, said an April 15 analysis by the U.S. Travel Association. Travel declines have already resulted in the loss of $10.3 billion in taxes since March 1, 2020.
An updated analysis from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that COVID-19 will cost airlines $314 billion in passenger revenues—a 55-percent drop from 2019. That’s up from IATA’s earlier estimate, released on March 24, 2020, of $252 billion in lost revenues.
Airlines worldwide are losing $1.6 billion per day, according to an IBIS World market research report. The IATA published an analysis at the end of March, which posited that global airlines may well have burned through $61 billion in cash reserves by the time 2020’s second quarter closes.
The U.S. Travel Association determined that 15.8 million American jobs, either directly or indirectly supported by the travel sector, are currently at risk. Its research found travel to be the seventh-largest private-sector employer in the U.S, supporting one in ten jobs and generating $446.8 billion worth of earnings each year.