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Coronavirus – A serious blow for tourism

In June, when hopefully the epidemic will have passed, EFSA will be giving a day’s workshops on 22 June at the SAITEX/ Hotels and Hospitality event in Gallagher’s Conference Centre, Midrand, but meanwhile supplies to e-shops from China, conventions and tourist trade are being heavily hit by fears of the virus. Unfortunately, due to lack of industry statistics, it will be difficult to estimate the loss of revenue by e-shops in Africa as Chinese production shuts down. On the other hand, damage to the tourism and travel sectors is easier to identify. Chinese tourists (20.1% of total global tourists in 2019) are not travelling, but neither too are American (10%) or Europeans. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has pointed out that this is a potentially devastating hit for struggling airlines counting on lucrative Chinese routes to fund expansion. The global hit to the aviation industry is projected to be $29 billion this year – a 4.7% industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger kilometre. IATA forecast in December that African airlines would make a loss of around $200 million this year, similar to 2019.

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Alastair Tempest

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