The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published its latest estimates of the likely impact of the coronavirus on international tourism. Given the unprecedented introduction of travel restrictions around the world, the United Nations Specialized Tourism Agencyexpects international tourist arrivals to decrease by 2020 to 20% in 30 compared to 2019 data. “Tourism is one of the hardest hit of all economic sectors”, stressed UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, adding that tourism has joined forces to find a solution by working together to mitigate the impact of the crisis, especially on employment, and to support broader recovery efforts by providing jobs and economic prosperity around the world. The expected decline between 20 and 30% could translate into a drop in international revenues from tourism (exports) of 300-450 billion US dollars, which is almost one third of the 1,5 trillion US dollars that were realized in 2019. Taking into account past market trends, this would mean that COVID-19 will lose the growth achieved between five and seven years. Putting this in context, the UNWTO notes that in 2009, on the back of the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals declined by 4%, while the SARS epidemic led to a decline of only 0,4% in 2003. Source: UNWTOPhoto: Pixabay It is clear that millions of jobs in the sector are at risk, and according to UNWTO estimates, about 80% of all tourism businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition to this new assessment, the UNWTO emphasizes historical resilience and the ability to create jobs in post-crisis situations, while emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and ensuring that the sector becomes a central part of recovery efforts. However, the UNWTO emphasizes that these numbers are based on the latest developments facing the global community. These are unprecedented social and economic challenges that need to be interpreted with caution given the extremely uncertain nature of the current crisis.