May 22, 2022

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International tourism continues to decline

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said today that the industry without smokestacks continues to deteriorate internationally.
“To restore confidence and revitalize tourism, it will be necessary to speed up the vaccination rate (against COVID-19) worldwide,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

In a press release, Pololikashvili noted that there is a need to work on effective coordination and communication on ever-changing travel restrictions, while enhancing digital tools to facilitate mobility.

The World Tourism Organization, which is headquartered in Madrid, indicated that during the first five months of the year, global destinations recorded 147 million fewer international arrivals (overnight visitors) compared to the same period in 2020.

Even worse is the stats compared to 2019, when it was 460 million fewer.

However, he clarified, the data points to a relatively small increase in May, with arrivals declining by 82% (compared to May 2019), after a decrease of 86% in April.

This slightly regressive trend was recorded when some destinations began to ease restrictions and consumer confidence increased slightly, the World Tourism Organization commented.

The entity belonging to the United Nations ceremony, on the other hand, noted that the Asia-Pacific region was the most declining region, with the number of international arrivals dropping by 95% in the first five months of 2021.

Europe (-85%) recorded the second largest drop in arrivals, followed by the Middle East (-83%) and Africa (-81%).

The Americas region (-72 percent) saw a relatively smaller decline. In June, the number of destinations with completely closed borders dropped to 63 from 69 in February.

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The Caribbean (-60 percent) recorded the best relative results for all sub-regions of the world during May 2021.

The World Tourism Organization noted that increased travel from the United States has benefited destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as Mexico.

Western, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, South America and Central America also had promising results in May.

For the rest of the year, the World Tourism Organization noted that international tourism is slowly recovering, although the recovery remains very fragile and erratic.

Growing concern about the delta type of virus has prompted many countries to reintroduce restrictive measures.

“Moreover, fluctuations and a lack of clear information on entry requirements could continue to affect the resumption of international travel during the northern hemisphere summer season,” he noted.

However, vaccination programs around the world, along with the easing of restrictions on vaccinated travelers and the use of digital tools such as the EU’s digital COVID certificate are contributing to the gradual normalization of travel.