40% of global tour spots have eased travel restrictions; UNWTO Report

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Air Travel
Image Courtesy: UNWTO Twitter page

According to the latest analysis from the United Nation’s specialized agency for the tourism world, Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 40 percent of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19.

The analysis points at a responsible restart of tourism which is underway around the world as growing numbers of destinations are easing COVID-19 related travel restrictions and adapt to the new reality.

This latest UNWTO outlook reports that the percent of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel increased considerably by 18 base points from 22 on 15th June. It confirms the trend of a slow but constant revision and responsible restart of international tourism.

However, Only 4 among 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place.

This latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report shows that 115 destinations (53 percent of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods. 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.”

The UNWTO report observed that destinations that have a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to be ease restrictions on travel. Among 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 points 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.

Looking at the 115 destinations that continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism, the report uncovers that a majority (88) have been totally closed their borders for international tourism for more than 12 weeks.

UNWTO has also 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 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.