The coronavirus pandemic is expected to leave U.S. travel agencies and tour operators with a half-billion-dollar loss compared to 2019, according to data compiled by the Italian investment company Finaria.it.
The company said agencies and tour operators in America are expected to generate $63.5 billion in revenue for 2021, a healthy figure but still $530 million less than in 2019.
According to Finaria, before the pandemic the U.S. travel agency and tour operators market witnessed impressive growth, with revenues rising from $42.6 billion in 2012 to $64 billion in 2019.
Statistics show that nearly 80 million international tourists visited the United States that year, with more than half of those travelers – or almost 48 million – coming from the Americas. The total spending by domestic and international travelers in the United States, including travel-related expenses, lodging, meals and entertainment hit $1.12 trillion in 2019, up from $1.08 trillion in 2018.
But COVID-19 triggered the biggest market contraction in history last year. With thousands of canceled vacations, closed hotels and travel restrictions in place, travel agencies and tour operators’ revenues dipped by $2.4 billion to $61.6 billion in 2020.
Although Finaria predicted it would be back up to $63.5 billion by the end of 2021, it noted the recovery for the travel industry will last into 2022.
Besides massive revenue losses, the pandemic also caused huge layoffs in U.S. travel agencies, with the number of employees plunging from 217,000 in 2019 to 166,000 last year.
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