How hard will the coronavirus hit the travel industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic brings travel to a standstill, causing massive job and revenue losses. Will there be light at the end of the tunnel?

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A nearly empty American Airlines flight prepares for takeoff March 18, 2020. Airlines, along with the rest of the travel industry, are facing an uncertain future caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, few industries have fallen as far and as fast as tourism. The technological revolution that brought us closer together by making travel and tourism easy and affordable—a revolution that fueled one billion trips a year—is helpless in halting a virus that demands we shelter in place.

Taking a snapshot of tourism losses is difficult, as the data changes as quickly as the virus spreads. If the pandemic continues for several more months, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the trade group representing major global travel companies, projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue. Losses come daily; as of April 2, British Airways is reportedly poised to suspend 36,000 staffers.

Gloria Guevara, the CEO of WTTC, is lobbying governments to offer support to travel companies saying these potential job losses are “bringing real and profound worry to millions of families around the world.”

America’s travel industry is among the hardest hit. The U.S. Travel Association projects a loss of 4.6...

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