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High Vaccination Rates & Reopening of Borders Help to Revive Int’l Tourism Sector, UNWTO Report Shows

With many destinations easing their travel restrictions and with global vaccination progressing in many parts of the world, international tourism saw signs of recovery in June and July of this year.

Based on the latest edition of the UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer, about 54 million tourists crossed international borders only in July 2021, which indicates a 67 percent decrease compared to the same month in 2019, but the highest since April 2020, Schengen Visa Info reports. .com.

It is clear that there is a strong demand for international tourism, and many destinations are starting to welcome visitors again safely and responsibly. However, the real resumption of tourism and the benefits it brings remain outstanding as inconsistent rules and regulations and unequal vaccination rates continue to affect confidence in travel,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

According to a press release issued today, October 4, by the World Tourism Organization, most destinations saw a moderate recovery in international travel during June and July compared to 2020. However, 2021 remains a challenging year for global tourism as the number of international arrivals has declined. By 80 percent in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2019.

The Asia Pacific travel and tourism sector reported the weakest results in the January-July period, posting a 95 percent drop in international arrivals compared to the pre-pandemic period. The second largest decline was recorded in the Middle East (-82 percent), followed by Europe and Africa (-77 percent).

On the other hand, the Americas saw a smaller decline (-68 percent), with the Caribbean recording the best performance among subregions worldwide.

In addition, some smaller European destinations had the best performers in June and July, with arrivals near or above levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.

The easing of travel restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus, along with progress in rolling out vaccines, has helped raise consumer confidence as well as restore safe travel in Europe and other parts of the world.

Through the same press release, it was revealed that although some destinations continued to report weak tourist revenues during the first seven months of 2021, several other improvements were recorded in June and July, some even surpassing 2019 earnings. One of the countries that recorded a 2% increase in June 2021 compared to 2019.

Regarding the situation that awaits in the coming months or even years, the UNWTO team of experts suggested that better results will be seen by the end of the year.

Nearly half of all experts (45 percent) continue to see international tourism return to 2019 levels in 2024 or later, while 43 percent point to a recovery in 2023. In Europe, half of respondents indicated that this could happen in 2023,” the UNWTO statement reads.

However, international tourism is not expected to fully return anytime soon if vaccination rates do not rise.

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