America shows the greatest progress according to a UNWTO report

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America shows the greatest progress according to a UNWTO report
Source: Twitter @UNWTO
Wed June 02, 2021

A new study by the World Tourism Organization published today reveals that during Q1 2021, Europe registered the second largest decrease with -83%, Africa -81%, the Middle East -78% and America only -71%


International tourist arrivals declined 83% in the first quarter of 2021 as widespread travel restrictions were maintained. However, the UNWTO confidence index shows signs of a slow rebound in confidence.

Between January and March 2021, destinations around the world received 180 million fewer international arrivals compared to the first quarter of last year. Asia and the Pacific continued to experience the lowest levels of activity with a 94% drop in international arrivals over the three-month period. Europe registered the second largest decrease with -83%, followed by Africa (-81%), the Middle East (-78%) and America (-71%). All this is a consequence of the 73% drop in international tourist arrivals worldwide registered in 2020, which makes it the worst year on record for the sector. 

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili comments: “There is significant pent-up demand and we see confidence slowly returning. Vaccines will be key to recovery, but we must improve coordination and communication as we make testing easier and more affordable if we are to see a rebound for the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. "

Vaccines will be key to recovery, but we must improve coordination and communication as we make testing easier and more affordable if we are to see a rebound for the northern hemisphere summer season.

The latest survey by the UNWTO Panel of Experts on Tourism shows that the outlook for the May-August period improves slightly. Alongside this, the pace of vaccination rollout in some key source markets, as well as policies to safely restart tourism, notably the EU Digital Green Certificate, have fueled hopes of a rebound in some of these markets.

Overall, 60% expect a rebound in international tourism in 2022 alone, compared to 50% in the January 2021 survey. The remaining 40% see a possible rebound in 2021, although this is slightly lower than the percentage in January. Almost half of experts do not see a return to 2019 international tourism levels before or after 2024, while the percentage of respondents indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 has decreased somewhat (37%), compared with the January survey.

Tourism experts point to the continued imposition of travel restrictions and the lack of coordination in travel and health protocols as the main obstacle to the recovery of the sector.

The impact of COVID on tourism cuts world exports by 4%
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer also shows the economic cost of the pandemic. International tourism receipts in 2020 fell by 64% in real terms (local currencies, constant prices), equivalent to a fall of more than US $ 900 billion, reducing the global value of world exports by more than 4% in 2020. Total loss of export earnings from international tourism (including passenger transport) amounts to almost US $ 1.1 trillion Asia and the Pacific (-70% in real terms) and the East Medium (-69%) posted the biggest drops in revenue.

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