The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) warns the US could see huge losses from tourism closures.
The US economy stands to lose an estimated total of US$155 billion this year due to the collapse of international travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to latest research conducted by the tourism body.
Catastrophic declines in the number of travellers visiting the country due to the poor handling of the pandemic could result in international visitor spending dropping by at least 79%.
This loss to the US economy equates to a shortfall of US$425 million a day.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC chief executive, told Reuters: “The economic pain and suffering caused to millions of households across the US, who are dependent upon tourism for their livelihoods, is evident from our latest shocking figures.
“The lack of international visitors to the US due to the pandemic could take years to recover from.”
The harsh impact on US tourism will become more unavoidable as the economic fallout from coronavirus continues to burn its way through the sector.
Nearly 12.1 million jobs in the country are at risk of being lost in a “worst case” scenario mapped out by WTTC economic modelling.
“We urgently need to replace blanket quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country,” said Guevara.
“This investment will be significantly less than the impact of blunt quarantines which have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences.
“The recent US$750 million deal with Abbott labs for US$5 rapid tests is very promising in this respect, and we hope that it will allow America to continue to reopen and prove to be a viable blueprint for a way forward for other countries.
“Targeted test and tracing will help rebuild consumer confidence to travel.”