The COVID-19 outbreak is having a devastating impact on the American travel and tourism sector and a new report from the U.S. Travel Association and Oxford Economics has highlighted the level of financial damage it has inflicted. With flights grounded, hundreds of millions of Americans on lockdown and borders closed, the U.S. is forecast to suffer a $519 billion decline in direct travel expenditure translating into a $1.2 trillion loss in economic output - a financial impact 9 times worse than 9/11. Travel industry revenue is expected to fall 81 percent over the next two months while it is forecast to decline 45 percent over the entire year. Employment is also suffering with the report forecasting 8 million job losses within the industry by the end of April.
The report also focused on the sectors forecast to experience the highest financial losses within the wider U.S. travel industry. Food Services is set to have the highest fall in direct spending at $128 billion. Lodging will be hit to the tune of $112 billion while all those grounded airliner fleets will result in a $97 billion in direct spending for the Air Transportation sector. Even though the spending declines are set to gradually recover over the course of the year as restrictions are loosened, losses are still expected to continue throughout 2020.