Global leaders have been urged to execute crucial measures to save the tourism sector by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
The move comes ahead of a special meeting of the G20 hosted by Saudi Arabia.
The call aims to prevent a “catastrophic collapse” of the sector following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, putting up to 75 million jobs at immediate risk.
WTTC implored the G20 leaders to assign resources and coordinate efforts to rescue major travel businesses such as airlines, cruises and hotels.
At the same time, the body raised concerns over the future of small- and medium-sized companies, such as travel agents, tour operators, restaurants and independent workers.
WTTC president, Gloria Guevara, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put the sector in unprecedented danger of collapse, which is looking increasingly likely unless a global rescue package is agreed to bolster what has become the backbone of the global economy.
“WTTC’s Economic Impact Report reveals that this vital sector was responsible for generating one in four of all new jobs globally in 2019 and will have a crucial part to play in powering the global recovery.
“It is therefore of paramount importance that the G20 take urgent action now to preserve the 75 million jobs at immediate risk, which would represent a crushing tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US$2.1 trillion in 2020 alone.”
She added: “A determined and decisive action by the G20 could reverse this, save millions from misery, and bolster one of the main engines of future economic growth.
“On behalf of millions of families and businesses, large and small around the world, we implore the G20 to take this vital step.
“We also recognise the efforts from all G20 countries in supporting a sector that alleviates poverty, provides opportunity, especially for women and the youth, and is an engine for growth.”
For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.