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July 2020

By Tim Balin and Abhik Sen

COVID-19 impact on tourism in Commonwealth countries

Using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model (refer to page 10), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has estimated in a new report the potential impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector globally in 2020. The visualisation below displays the results from UNCTAD’s ‘moderate scenario’ simulation, measured as a change in GDP and total loss in revenue for all the Commonwealth countries among the 65 for which estimates have been calculated in the report. UNCTAD’s moderate scenario simulation assumes a loss of one third of annual inbound tourism revenue, equivalent to four months of standstill in international tourism.

Thirteen Commonwealth countries among top twenty most dependent on tourism

Of the twenty countries in the world where tourism is the largest contributor to exports, thirteen are Commonwealth member states, according to latest UN World Tourism Organisation data. As small and mostly island states, the Commonwealth countries featured in the chart below are highly vulnerable to external shocks such as COVID-19.