The world is slowly starting to travel again: United Nations Tourism Organization

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: A Global Look at Tourism, United Nations Tourism Organization, the specialized agency of the United Nations examines the measures of 217 destinations around the world, as of May 18. The report reveals that 3% of all destinations have taken action to ease restrictions. Seven destinations have eased restrictions for international tourism purposes, while several others are engaged in discussions about reopening borders.

Nowhere fully open to tourists, yet

The report notes that 100% of all destinations worldwide continue to apply some travel restrictions related to COVID-19; 75% are still completely closed to international tourism. In 37% of all cases, restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24% have had controls in place for 14 weeks or more.

“The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure that the many social and economic benefits guaranteed by tourism will return in a sustainable way,” Mr Pololikashvili said.

The more important tourism is to individual economies, the more likely countries have responded by closing borders altogether. In the case of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the report finds that 85% remain completely closed to tourists.

In all UNWTO regions, more than 65% of their destinations remain completely closed to tourism: Africa (74%), Americas (86%), Asia and the Pacific (67%), Europe (74%) and the Middle East (69%).

Global guidelines

The report follows the publication last week of UNWTO’s Global Guidelines to Relaunch Tourism, aimed at helping the sector emerge more sustainably from COVID-19. Produced in cooperation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, the guide highlights the need to act decisively, restore trust and embrace innovation.

UNWTO warns that international tourist arrivals could drop between 60-80%, depending on when restrictions are lifted. This could jeopardize 100-120 million jobs and potentially lead to a loss of $910-1.2 trillion in exports.

“These guidelines provide governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them reopen tourism in a safe, transparent and responsible manner,” Pololikashvili said.

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