COVID-19 sparks a dramatic 46.9% collapse in the sector's contribution to GDP
More than 440,000 jobs lost, while many more remain protected by the Kurzarbeit scheme
However, the return of international travel this year could see GDP contribution rise sharply and jobs return
London, UK - The World Travel & Tourism Council's annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) reveals that the dramatic collapse of Germany's Travel & Tourism sector has wiped out €161 billion from the nation's economy.
The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector's contribution to GDP dropped 46.9%.
The sector's impact on Germany's GDP fell from €344 billion (9.8%) in 2019 before the pandemic struck, to €183 billion (5.5%), just 12 months later, in 2020.
The year of damaging travel restrictions which brought much of international travel to a grinding halt, resulted in the loss of 441,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.
However, WTTC believes the true picture could be significantly worse, if not for government's job-saving Kurzarbeit, a scheme which offered a short-term lifeline to businesses and workers, however hiding the real extent of the losses and the devastating social impact they could bring.
These job losses were felt across the entire Travel & Tourism ecosystem in the country, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, particularly affected.
Furthermore, as one of the world's most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.
The number of those employed in the German Travel & Tourism sector fell from 5.87 million in 2019, to 5.43 million in 2020 - a drop of 7.5%.
The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 47.3%, while international spending fared even worse, due to more stringent travel restrictions, causing a fall of 57.9%.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO WTTC, said: "The loss of more than 440,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across Germany has had a devastating socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people fearing for their future.
"However, the situation could have been far worse if it were not for the government's prompt action, reintroducing its incredible Kurzarbeit scheme to save millions of jobs under threat and helped to halt the total collapse of the Travel & Tourism sector.
"After a slow and frustrating start, there are now grounds for optimism if Germany's vaccine rollout continues at pace, with family doctors across the country now beginning to administer jabs to the general public.
"With more people vaccinated, a clear roadmap for increased mobility and, the likelihood of relaxed restrictions for travel from countries outside of the EU with comprehensive testing on departure in place just before the busy summer season, we predict the 441,000 jobs lost in Germany could return by the end of this year.
"However, the government's bold and courageous move to protect jobs is not sustainable in the long-term. We know tens of thousands of SMEs, which make up the bulk of the ailing Travel & Tourism sector, are still fighting for their survival, putting at risk the capacity of the country to recover from the crushing impact of COVID-19.
"WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the Germany economy.
"Our research shows that if mobility and international travel resumes by June this year, the sector's contribution to the nation's GDP, could reach the same levels of 2019 by 2022."
WTTC says the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework to reopen international travel.
All non-vaccinated travellers should face a comprehensive testing regime before departure, as well as enhanced health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask wearing.
Whilst the German government has previously expressed concerns surrounding the European Commission's Digital Green Certificate, which would display a traveller's COVID-19 status, WTTC believes such a pass would further enable safe international travel.
These measures would be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic.
It would also reduce the terrible social implications these losses have had on communities dedicated to Travel & Tourism and upon ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID-19 restrictions.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global travel & tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, Chairs and Presidents of the world's leading travel & tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. For more than 30 years, WTTC has been committed to raising the awareness of governments and the public of the economic and social significance of the travel & tourism sector.
According to WTTC's 2021 Economic Impact Report, during 2020, a year in which it was devasted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel & Tourism made a 5.5% contribution to global GDP and was responsible for 272 million jobs.