The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is co-chairing the cross-sectoral Travel, Tourism & Outbreaks working group with the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organisation. The group works to improve decision-making, coordination and communications within and between both the public and private sectors in the event of a disease outbreak.
Past outbreaks have had significant negative consequences for the Travel & Tourism sector. In destination, tourists need to be kept safe and brought home quickly, with inevitable costs incurred. There's usually a precipitous fall in tourist numbers in the short term as well. Sometimes this is made worse by public sector response which overstates the risks posed by international air travel. The knock-on effects for Travel & Tourism businesses and the supply chains that support them can be dramatic. Inevitably people lose their jobs and entire communities can suffer.
WTTC works with the key stakeholders to find the best ways to minimise the impact of a pandemic both in terms of risk containment and to counter the negative effects on the Travel & Tourism sector. Finding the appropriate balance is not easy. It's crucial that both the public and private sector are properly prepared and that in the event of an outbreak, communications are measured and effective.
This research quantifies the economic impact of the Ebola epidemic on Travel & Tourism GDP and employment in the affected countries in West Africa. The analysis also looks at the scale and longevity of its impact on Travel & Tourism compared to crisis events and epidemics in other parts of the world.