COVID-19: Empty streets and deserted hotspots; how virus wrecks global tourism

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As the total number of cases affected by coronavirus reached over 1.6 lakh globally and 6,513 deaths were reported, the tourism sector is bleeding as the virus scare rises.

While more than 148 countries have been affected by the virus, Singapore, Vietnam, Italy, Japan amongst others have been impacted the most.

Italy reported 827 deaths and 12,462 are confirmed positive cases from the virus. The popular tourist destination has locked down cities and its citizens are unable to tackle the effects of this virus. The Tourism Ministry has reported a reduction in the number of tourists who have arrived in the year 2020 till date. It remains one of the major hotspots of the virus.

Tourism has also been affected in Japan as the number of confirmed cases rose to 624. The nation is considering the postponement of the Olympics games that are scheduled to be held in the summers. Other institutions and markets too are shutting down due to the spike in cases.

Egypt which primarily relies on this service sector as a tool of GDP growth had just started to recover from years of instability. However, this is yet another setback as the total number of cases rose to 67.
In 2010, the nation welcomed 14.7 million tourists, 11.3 million arrivals in 2018, compared with just 5.3 million in 2016.

Revenues from the sector grew to US$12.6 billion between 2018 and 2019, compared to US$10 billion the previous year, according to the central bank.

Singapore tourism is also expected to be hit harder than previous estimations, according to S. Ishwaran, Minister of Communications as the number of people infected spiked to 178.

Last month, CEO of Singapore Tourism Board Keith Tan had estimated that the arrival of tourists into Singapore and the revenue from this sector could reduce to as much as 25-30% of the current levels.

He said: “The city-state is losing about 18,000 to 20,000 tourists a day and that could plummet further if the situation persists.”

Vietnam banned tourists from areas of South Korea which were hit by the virus as the number went up to 35, further impacting the tourism sector adversely.

The government said that people from those areas who needed to come to Vietnam for other reasons must be quarantined for 14 days when entering the country.

Earlier, Vietnamese state media had also reported that the coronavirus epidemic could wipe $5.9 billion to $7.7 billion from Vietnam’s tourism earnings in the next three months due to international travellers staying away from the region.

Flights have also been affected as Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways and Vietjet canceled flights to South Korea.

US President Donald Trump also announced the cancellation of all travel from Europe except the United Kingdom to the US.

While the economic impact of this virus is yet to be estimated, it comes as a major setback to global tourism.

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