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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, and options for a sustainable and resilient recovery

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Coordinator: Mulder, Nanno UN symbol.: LC/TS.2020/147 49 p. Editorial: ECLAC December 2020


Since April, tourism in the region has almost come to a temporary standstill as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This temporary paralysis has not only hit Caribbean economies and employment hard, but also many local communities in Latin America. Tourism accounts for half of services exports in Latin America and the Caribbean and represents significant shares of gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. An impact scenario shows that the slump in tourism may cause total GDP growth in the Caribbean and Latin America to fall by 8 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively, while total employment could potentially decline by 7 percentage points in the Caribbean and 1 percentage point in Latin America. As countries have taken measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on tourism, recommendations are provided to step up the sector’s preparation for the economic recovery, while enhancing diversification as well as environmental and social sustainability.

Table of contents

Abstract .-- Introduction .-- I. The key role of tourism in GDP, exports and employment .-- II. The dramatic fall in tourism .-- III. Large drops in regional tourism are expected in 2020 .-- IV. Different measures can mitigate the impact of the crisis and accelerate recovery.

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