The United Nations specialized agency for tourism has been monitoring global responses to the pandemic from the start of the crisis.
This latest outlook, recorded on July 19th, is up from 22 per cent of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by June 15th and the three per cent previously observed by May 15th. It confirms the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism.
At the same time, however, of the 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place.
Tourism is vital to economic recovery
This latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report in addition shows that 115 destinations (53 per cent of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.
“The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. "As destinations continue to ease restrictions on travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance. This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.”
According to the UNWTO report, destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to be easing restrictions on travel.
Of the 87 destinations that have eased restrictions recently, 20 are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which depend on tourism as a central pillar of employment, economic growth and development.
The report also shows that around half (41) of all those destinations that have eased restrictions are in Europe, confirming the leading role of the region for the responsible restart of tourism.
Many destinations still in long-term lockdown
Looking at the 115 destinations that continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism, the report finds that a majority (88) have been completely closed their borders for international tourism for more than 12 weeks.
The cost related to the travel restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19 has historic dimensions.
This week, UNWTO released the data on the impact of the pandemic on tourism, both in terms of lost tourist arrivals and lost revenues. The data shows that by already by the end of May, the pandemic had led to US$320 billion in lost revenues, already three times the cost of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis.
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