Slow recovery of international tourism weighs on ratings: Fitch Ratings

Oct 19, 2020 (LBO) – The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt international services trade, especially tourism, Fitch Ratings said in a recent report.

International tourist arrivals globally declined by 65% YoY in 1H20, and in the Asia Pacific (APAC) by 72% YoY, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Fitch Ratings expects international tourism flows in APAC to remain subdued through much of 2021 as cross-border travel restrictions are lifted slowly, and as uncertainty lingers around the evolution of the pandemic and the availability of effective vaccines and treatments.

Meanwhile, inbound tourism receipts account directly for at least 5% of GDP for more than a third of Fitch-rated APAC sovereigns, led by Macao and the Maldives, followed by Thailand and Hong Kong.

"We project Thailand’s economy to contract by 7.8% in 2020 and Hong Kong by 7.5%," Fitch Ratings said.

"Other Fitchrated sovereigns in APAC are certainly not impervious from the hit to tourism, especially in economies where the sector has expanded rapidly in recent years, such as Vietnam and Sri Lanka (LK)."

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