Global tourism lost $195 billion in revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic

Travel experts have looked into the biggest revenue losses and highest percentage of GDP lost per country to reveal which countries have seen the greatest financial impact as a result of the loss of tourism caused by COVID-19.

Travel and tourism has been one of the main industries to be gravely affected by COVID-19, leaving many countries with no choice but to close its borders to tourists for months due to the global pandemic outbreak. As a result of these travel bans, a number of airlines and tour operators have had to cancel long-awaited holidays, leaving world tourism at an all time low.

In 2019, global travel and tourism contributed $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP, yet due to the current pandemic the financial impact of COVID-19 on world tourism has resulted in a total revenue loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020.

So which countries have been affected the most by COVID-19?

The countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to COVID-19:


Rank Country Revenue Loss
1 United States $30,709m
2 Spain $9,741m
3 France $8,767m
4 Thailand $7,822m
5 Germany $7,225m
6 Italy $6,187m
7 United Kingdom $5,816m
8 Australia $5,674m
9 Japan $5,428m
10 Hong Kong SAR, China $5,020m


In 2018, tourism supported 7.8 million jobs in the US and accounted for 2.8% of US GDP, but with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, they have placed top with a total revenue loss of $30,709 million in the first four months of 2020. By the end of March 2020, 31 out of 50 states in the US had been placed into lockdown, in the same month a travel ban prohibited anyone travelling from the Schengen zone, UK or Ireland to enter the US, having a major impact on tourism revenue.

Europe makes up half of the top 10 most financially impacted countries

Countries within Europe make up 50% of those which have suffered the biggest losses in tourism revenue, with Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the UK all ranking in the list of the top 10 worst affected.

With a reported drop of 98% in international tourist arrivals in June, Spain is the European country with the largest revenue loss of $9,741m. Just as tourists began returning to the popular holiday destination, a rise in COVID-19 cases meant the UK imposed a quarantine warning against anyone arriving back from Spain as of the end of July. This new rule indicates that Spain’s loss in revenue will continue increasing as tourism slows once again.


France is the world’s most visited country with over 89 million tourists each year, but the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in a total revenue loss of $8,767m. This significant loss makes it the third country in the world with the most revenue loss caused by the global pandemic and the second in Europe.

The countries which have lost the highest % of GDP due to loss of tourism: 


Rank Country % of GDP loss
1 Turks and Caicos Islands 9.2%
2 Aruba 9.0%
3 Macao SAR, China 8.8%
4 Antigua and Barbuda 7.2%
5 Maldives 6.9%
6 St. Lucia 6.2%
7 Northern Mariana Islands 5.9%
8 Grenada 5.5%
9 Palau 5.2%
10 Seychelles 4.6%

Turks and Caicos Islands closed its border to tourists from 23rd March 2020 until 22nd July 2020, resulting in the collection of islands becoming the country to face the highest GDP loss of 9.2%. The Turks and Caicos economy is majoritively dependent on US tourism visiting the luxury holiday destination, meaning the travel ban is thought to have cost the country an estimated $22 million a month.

Also a well known luxury holiday destination located in the Southern Caribbean Sea, Aruba usually welcomes an estimated one million tourists to the small island each year. The impact of COVID-19 has caused the country to come in second as it suffers a 9% GDP loss.

Macau is known for being a hub for gambling, but with China’s ban on tourist visas and the severe impact COVID-19 has had on China as a whole, Macau’s gaming revenue falls 94.5% year-on-year in July. With gaming being a main source of tourism, Macau ranks third for the highest loss in GDP with a total percentage loss of 8.8%

The Caribbean makes up half of the top 10 countries with the highest percentage of GDP loss

Last year, more than 31 million people visited the Caribbean, and more than half of them were tourists from the US. But with COVID-19 causing travel bans all over the world, the number of tourists that once accounted for 50-90% of the GDP for most of the Caribbean countries has significantly decreased.

Countries within the Caribbean make up 50% of those which have suffered the highest percentage loss in GDP, with Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia and Grenada all ranking in the list of the top 10 worst affected.