The collapse of tourism has cost Asian countries 1.6 million jobs, business and economy


According to the report, nearly one-third of job losses in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei and Mongolia are related to tourism.

Hwaseong, South Korea—— According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), last year alone, the collapse of the tourism industry caused by the pandemic destroyed 1.6 million jobs in five Asian countries.

According to a report issued by the United Nations agency on Thursday, tourism in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei and Mongolia accounted for almost one-third of all unemployed people.

According to the report, the number of unemployed persons related to tourism is four times that of other industries, and women have been hit particularly hard.

Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, director of the ILO’s Asia-Pacific region, said that the impact of COVID-19 on the region’s tourism industry is “simply disastrous”.

“Even if the countries in the region attach great importance to vaccination and develop strategies to slowly reopen borders, by next year, employment and working hours in tourism-related sectors in Asia-Pacific countries may still be lower than pre-crisis figures,” Asada Miyagawa said.

Many analysts expect the Asian tourism industry to recover slowly in the near future [File: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

According to the report, Brunei’s employment has fallen the most, with a 40% reduction, while the average working time has been reduced by 21%.

In the Philippines, the number of employment related to tourism has decreased by 28%, while the average working time has decreased by 38%. In Vietnam, the average wage in this industry has dropped by 18% overall, while the average wage for women has dropped by 28%.

Before the pandemic, Thailand’s tourism industry created about 20% of GDP, but its average wages fell by 9.5%.

In Mongolia, employment and average working hours fell by 17% and 13%, respectively.

According to data from Capital Economics, as of September, compared with pre-pandemic levels, the number of arrivals in most parts of Asia has fallen by 99%, while Mexico has fallen by 20%, and Southern Europe has fallen by about 65%.

According to data from the World Economic Forum, approximately 291 million tourists visited the Asia-Pacific region in 2019, contributing approximately US$875 billion to the economy.

Sara Elder, a senior economist at the International Labor Organization and author of the report, said that the crisis and the possibility of a slow recovery in the short term will force countries that rely on tourism to consider ways to diversify their economies.

“Recovery will take time, and workers and businesses affected in the tourism industry will continue to need assistance to make up for lost income and protect assets,” Elder said. “The government should continue to implement support measures while working hard to vaccinate all residents, including migrant workers.”

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