The coronavirus pandemic will deliver an "unprecedented blow" to tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has warned in a new report.
The new study highlights how the region contains some of the world's most tourism-dependent economies. The IDB said it was concerned by the economic fallout that lay ahead.
The authors of the report said that they had weighed the coronavirus pandemic against six historical negative scenarios (such as the Ebola outbreak, the September 11, 2001 attacks), concluding that they had found "no historical precedent that came close to the shock that the current pandemic delivers to tourism."
In the IDB's most negative outlook, it warned that tourism in the region could slump by between 40 and 70 percent this year.
The study warns that Latin American and Caribbean countries are likely to suffer more than most from the coronavirus pandemic, picking out Aruba, Antigua and the Bahamas in particular. The IDB said that the Caribbean plays host to 14 of the 15 most tourism-dependent economies in the world.
However, large economies in the region would also be hit hard, the report warned. Tourism in Mexico, for example, was responsible for 16 percent of total economic activity and employment between 2014 and 2018, it said.
In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, tourism represents around 10 percent of employment and economic activity, while in Brazil, the figure is eight percent.
"Even for larger and more diversified economies, the net impact on activity could still lead to contractions on a scale that is not often the case," said IDB researcher Maria Alejandra Zegarra.