(CNN) — While popular destinations are slowly reopening and tourism is beginning to pick up in some spots, the impact of the pandemic on the industry has been nothing short of devastating.
Many countries that heavily rely on the revenue from tourism lost one of their main sources of wealth almost overnight back in March, but which are likely to be the hardest hit?
Mexico features at the top of Statista’s list, closely followed by Spain and Italy.
Already among the countries with the highest coronavirus death tolls, the European destinations are also likely to be among the most affected by declining tourism due to their dependence on revenue from visitors, which contributed 14.3% to Spain’s GDP last year and 13% to that of Italy’s, according to WTTC.
After issuing one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe — at one point adults were only allowed to leave their home to buy food, medicine or take their dog for a walk — Spain has been keen to revive its struggling tourism industry, reopening its borders in the past month to all EU countries and approved third-party countries.
In 2019, tourism accounted for around 13% of Italy’s GDP.
MARCO SABADIN/AFP/Getty Images
Meanwhile, Italy reopened to travelers from the EU, along with the UK and the microstates and principalities of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, in a move the government described as a “calculated risk.”
However, coronavirus cases here have risen significantly in Spain since restrictions were lifted, with some sections being issued with a second lockdown.
Italy has also experienced a slight rise in cases since easing restrictions, indicating the recovery process is likely to be slow with potential stops and starts.
The impact on the US, the world’s largest economy, has been less significant, with tourism only accounting for 8.6% of its GDP, which is based on various contributions, including revenue from hotels, travel agents, airlines and restaurants.
However, WTTC indicates the total contribution from travel and tourism accounts for around 16.8 million jobs.
France sits just below the US on the list, with tourism making up 8.5% of its GDP in 2019, followed by Brazil at 7.7%.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, declining tourism is likely to have few financial ramifications for South Korea, with the tourism sector only accounting for 4.2% of its GDP last year.
“I’m not sure it [the travel sector] will ever be identical to the way it was [pre-Covid 19],” says Lori Pennington-Gray, professor and director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida, told CNN Travel earlier this month.
“As far as operating at full capacities and with the same volumes, it may take years to get to that. But we know from previous crises that the travel industry is very resilient.”
“The travel industry will rebound, it just isn’t going to happen tomorrow.”