Numbers alone cannot capture the extent of the losses that have occurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Datasets are crude tools for installing the Depth of human suffering, or the Immensity of our collective grief.
However, numbers can help us grasp the magnitude of certain losses – especially in the travel industry, which saw an amazing collapse in 2020.
It is estimated that international arrivals worldwide have dropped to 381 million in 2020, down from 1.461 billion in 2019 – a 74 percent decrease. In countries whose economies are heavily dependent on tourism, the steep decline in visitor numbers was and is devastating.
According to the latest information from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the decline in international travel in 2020 resulted in an estimated loss of $ 1.3 trillion in global export revenue. As the agency notes, that number is more than 11 times the loss incurred in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis.
The charts below, discussing changes in international arrivals, emissions, air travel, cruise lines, and car trips, provide a comprehensive view of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry and beyond.
Before the pandemic, tourism was responsible one of 10 jobs around the world. However, travel plays an even bigger role in the local economy in many places.
Consider the Maldives, which has received international tourism in recent years two thirds of the G.D.P.when looking at direct and indirect contributions.
When lockdowns broke out around the world, international arrivals in the Maldives declined. From April to September 2020 they were 97 percent lower than in the same period of the previous year. Throughout 2020, arrivals were down more than 67 percent from 2019, while the government, keen to promote tourism and mitigate losses, lured travelers with marketing campaigns and even courted influencers with paid junkets.)
Similar developments were seen in countries like Macau, Aruba and the Bahamas: standstills in February and March, followed by incremental increases over the course of the year.
The economic impact of travel-related declines has been staggering. In Macau, for example, the G.D.P. contractually agreed by more than 50 percent in 2020.
And the effects could be long-lasting; In some areas, travel expenses are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
The pandemic has put commercial aviation into turmoil. One way to visualize the impact of lockdowns on air traffic is to consider the number of passengers that are checked daily at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
Screenings of travelers fell in March before bottoming out on April 14 when 87,534 passengers were screened – a 96 percent decrease from the same date in 2019.
The numbers have risen relatively steadily since then, although the screening numbers are still less than half of last year.
According to the International Air Transport Association, an airline trading group, global passenger traffic is in 2020 fell 65.9 percent Compared to 2019, the largest decrease in aviation history compared to the previous year.
Another way to visualize the decline in air traffic over the past year is to consider the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by airplanes around the world.
According to data from Carbon monitorAs an international initiative that provides estimates of daily CO2 emissions, global emissions from aviation fell by almost 50 percent to around 500 million tons of CO2 last year, after around 1 billion tons in 2019 However, the timing largely depends on how long it takes Business and international travel are excluded.)
Overall, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels decreased 2.6 billion tons in 2020 a decrease of 7 percent compared to 2019, which is largely due to declines in transport.
In the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, few industries played such a central and public role as the major cruise lines – starting with the Eruption on board the Diamond Princess.
In one devastating rebuke of industry The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in July, accused cruise lines of widespread transmission of the virus and pointed out 99 outbreaks aboard 123 cruise lines alone in US waters.
While exact passenger data for 2020 is not yet available, the publicly disclosed revenues – including ticket sales and onboard purchases – from three of the largest cruise lines offer a dramatic representation: strong revenues in the first few months of 2020 followed by a sharp decline.
Revenue for Carnival Corporation, the largest company in the industry, declined 99.5 percent year on year to $ 31 million in 2020, from $ 6.5 billion in 2019.
The outlook for the first few months of 2021 remains bleak: Currently, most cruise companies have canceled all trips until May or June.
International and domestic air traffic was significantly restricted by the pandemic. But how was the car ride affected?
One way to measure the change is to look at the Daily Travel Index compiled by Arrivalist, a company that uses mobile location data to measure consumer road trips over 50 miles or more in all 50 US states.
The numbers tell the story of a rebound slightly stronger than that of air travel: a sharp drop in March and April state and local restrictions were introduced, followed by a gradual increase to around 80 percent of the 2019 level.
Another way to consider car trips in 2020 – and domestic travel in the US in a broader sense – is to check the number of visits to America’s national parks.
Overall, the number of visitors to national parks decreased by 28 percent in 2020 – to 237 million visitors compared to 327.5 million in 2019, mainly due to temporary park closings and pandemic-related capacity restrictions.
The caveat, however, is that several parks saw record visitor numbers in the second half of the year as a wave of travel-deprived tourists sought safe and responsible forms of recreation.
Look at the numbers for recreational visits to Yellowstone National Park. After a closure in April, the monthly number of visitors to the park quickly rose above the level of 2019. The months of September and October 2020 were both the most heavily frequented. The numbers in October exceeded the previous monthly record by 43 percent.
Some national parks near cities served as convenient recreational areas during the pandemic. In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the numbers for 2020 were above the numbers for 2019 from March to December. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, numbers rose sharply after a 46-day closure in spring and partial closings through August. Between June and December, the park saw an additional 1 million visits compared to the same period in 2019.