Falling consumer confidence, rising inflation that makes travel more expensive, loss of spending in the Russian and Ukrainian markets, impact on traditional destinations as well as emerging ones… These are some of the implications the war in Ukraine could have on the recovery of international tourism this year, according to the report of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“It is too early to assess the impact of the war in Ukraine, but it poses a serious risk to international tourism that could delay the sector’s already weak and uneven recovery,” warns the UNWTO, which presents two scenarios that are far from encouraging: a drop in foreign arrivals tourists from 50% to 63% compared to 2019.
In this regard, the conflict could slow the nascent reactivation despite the lifting or relaxation of COVID-related travel restrictions by many countries.
Thus, the organization identifies six consequences that war can have on the sector:
- An additional risk for a weak and uneven tourism recovery.
- Disrupting travel in the Russian and Ukrainian markets, which account for 3% of global tourism spending, about $14 billion in 2020. It should be recalled that in 2019 Russian spending on international travel reached US$36 billion, while Ukrainian spending reached US$8.5 billion.
- Decrease in consumer confidence, especially in more risky markets and segments. Outbound markets in the US and Asia could be affected, especially when traveling to Europe, as these markets are traditionally more cautious or risk-averse.
- Impact on traditional destinations as well as developing destinations, especially island and coastal destinations.
- Weaker economic growth and rising inflation due to rising oil prices, coupled with recent increases in interest rates, are pushing up consumer spending on travel and increasing pressure on businesses, especially SMEs.
- All of the above, taken together, poses a threat to employment and the tourism business.