The UNWTO recommended accelerating vaccination as a measure to reactivate tourism to reach pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
WORLD, (July 22, 2021).- International tourist arrivals fell by 85% until May around the world compared to the levels registered in 2019, before the pandemic, while the decline compared to the first five months of 2020 stood at 65%, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The UNWTO explained this Wednesday in a statement that between January and May 2021 there were 460 million fewer international arrivals than in the same period of 2019 and 147 million less compared to 2020.
The organization noted a small rebound last May, coinciding with the easing of restrictions in some countries and a slight increase in consumer confidence.
However, he pointed out that the appearance of new variants of coronavirus, such as the Delta, and the constant imposition of restrictions are causing domestic tourism to recover at a faster rate than international tourism.
By region, Asia and the Pacific fell the most in the first five months of the year compared to pre-pandemic levels, with a 95% decline, followed by Europe, which lost 85%, the Middle East (83 %), Africa (81%) and the Americas region (72%), which experienced a comparatively less decline.
In this sense, the Caribbean subregion was the one that recorded the best data worldwide during May, with a decrease of 60% compared to 2019, benefiting from the increase in the number of trips from the United States.
According to the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, to reactivate tourism it will be necessary to “accelerate the rate of vaccination throughout the world” and promote “digital tools” that favor mobility.
Regarding mobility restrictions, in June the number of destinations that completely closed their borders stood at 63, compared to 69 in February.
Of the total of closed destinations, 33 are in the Asia-Pacific region and only 7 in Europe, ranking as the region with the least restrictions to travel today.
Regarding the prospects for recovery, 49% of the experts consulted by the UNWTO indicated that the levels of international tourism prior to the pandemic will not be reached until 2024, compared to 36% who brought the date forward to 2023 and 14% who pointed to 2022.
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