ANKARA

After weathering a body blow in 2020, the tourism sector could grow 25% in 2022 compared to 2019 if the vaccine rollout this year is done transparently and well, according to an industry leader.

A loss of $1 trillion in revenues from tourism globally is expected in a pessimistic scenario as the vaccination distribution begins, Bulut Bagci, head of the UK-based World Tourism Forum Institute (WTFI), told Anadolu Agency.

But, he added, “under an optimistic scenario, there will be no loss when the vaccination is delivered transparently.”

Speaking about his group’s operations on global platforms, Bagci said that it helps countries attract tourism investments and visitors.

“Investors find us, and we decide the destination to be invested in,” Bagci noted.

The institute has so far signed deals with three countries in Africa – Ghana, Angola, Chad – with an expected return on investment of four years, he underlined.

“The return on investment in Turkey is around 13 years, in Asia 11 years, and in South America eight years,” Bagci stressed,

Pointing to the average daily room rate in Africa, he said this helps make the continent “a significant opportunity.”

Bagci said the institute focuses on business travelers and luxury segments such as safari tours.

“We are in talks with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Sudan in Africa, and Qatar,” he stressed.

The institute has sealed a deal with China and will organize a sectoral forum in May 2021, Bagci noted.

The event, bringing together sector professionals, will be like a tourism version of the famed World Economic Forum in Switzerland and is expected to generate billions in revenue, he said.

“The forum will be held for a decade and we will create an economic impact of $50 billion,” Bagci stressed.

Turkey headed for top in tourism

Touching on Turkey’s pledge of a new era of reforms in the economy and judiciary, in particular under new economic management as of last November, Bagci stated that international funds are showing great interest in the country.

“Istanbul, Bodrum, and Antalya on the Turkish Riviera shine out in hotel investments. The return on investments is faster in the luxury segment,” he said.

Stressing the strength of the Turkish healthcare system, Bagci said Turkey will be among the world’s top four countries in tourism.

“Tourists visiting Turkey after 2020 will be from the middle and upper segment,” he stressed.

Since appearing in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 1.83 million lives in 191 countries and regions.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international arrivals in 2020 are estimated to have fallen 70-75%.

Global tourism will have returned to levels of 30 years ago, with 1 billion fewer arrivals and a loss of some $1.1 trillion in international tourism receipts, the UNWTO said.

“This massive drop in tourism due to the pandemic could result in an economic loss of $2 trillion in world GDP,” the UN body warned.

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