According to WTTC figures, the travel sector could shrink by up to 25 percent this year.

On a positive note, the council’s Chief Executive Gloria Guevara said that “Travel and tourism has the strength to overcome this challenge and will emerge stronger.”

The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions to contain its spread. Thousands of international flights have been canceled, with some insurance firms suspending travel coverage for new customers.

Statistics show that Chinese airline passenger numbers dropped by almost 85 percent last month. The country’s aviation regulator said on Thursday that the drop had caused a 21 billion yuan ($3 billion) fall in revenue.

Korean Air has warned that Covid-19 could threaten its survival.

According to data from Tourism Economics, the US travel and tourism industry could lose at least $24 billion in foreign spending this year. That would be equivalent to about seven times more than the industry lost during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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