International tourism grew in the third quarter of 2021 but remains well below 2019 levels.
The main factors affecting tourism recovery are international border restrictions, vaccine acceptance, and vaccination rates.
In the latest edition of the World Tourism Barometer, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported a 58% increase in international tourist arrivals between July and September 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
However, even with this increase, tourism levels in the third quarter of 2021 are still about 64% lower than 2019 levels. Total arrivals for the first nine months of 2021 are 76% below pre-pandemic levels, after a poor performance earlier this year.
The World Tourism Organization said: “Increased traveler confidence, amid rapid progress in vaccination and easing of entry restrictions in many destinations, is driving demand.” However, the UN agency said separately that travel restrictions remain widespread. As of November 26, 98% of the world’s destinations still have some kind of travel restrictions in place. Also as of late November, one in five countries had completely closed their borders to tourism.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, added: “The safe relaxation or lifting of travel restrictions is critical to restoring tourism and restoring the social and economic benefits the sector provides. An evidence-based approach to restrictions reflects the evolving nature of the pandemic, It will also help restore confidence in travel while helping to ensure the safety of tourists and tourism workers.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given these different rules and restrictions, the World Tourism Organization also noted that the tourism recovery has been quite uneven across countries and regions. “While Europe (-53%) and the Americas (-60%) saw relative improvements in the third quarter of 2021, arrivals in the Asia Pacific fell by 95% compared to 2019, as many destinations remain closed to non-essential travel. Africa recorded a decline of 74% and 81% in the third quarter of 2021 and the Middle East, respectively, compared to 2019.
Looking ahead, the agency added, “Uneven global vaccination rates and new strains of Covid-19 could affect an already slow and fragile recovery. Economic pressures from the pandemic could also impact travel demand, with price hikes intensifying recently. demand.” Oil and supply chain disruptions.
Current forecasts expect global tourism to remain 70-75% below 2019 levels throughout 2021. This equates to a direct economic impact of nearly $2 trillion on the global tourism industry—a loss very similar to the 2020 loss.
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