Published on : Thursday, October 29, 2020
International tourist arrivals went down by an annualized 70% during the first eight months of this year due to the corona virus pandemic, said the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Northern Hemisphere’s peak summer season was wrecked by travel restrictions, with tourist arrivals down by 81% in July, and by 79% in August, said the UNWTO.
There were 700 million fewer arrivals between January and August compared to the same period last year, leading to a loss in revenue of $730 billion. “This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, and puts millions of jobs and businesses at risk,” said the UNWTO head Zurab Pololikashvili in a statement.
The Asia and Pacific region, first hit by the pandemic, saw the biggest decline in arrivals, on the order of 79%. Africa and the Middle East followed with a 69% drop; Europe witnessed 68% fewer international visitors and in the Americas arrivals declined by 65%.
The UNWTO predicts that international tourist arrivals will fall by 70% for 2020 as a whole, and will not recover before the end of 2021.
About one in five experts consulted by the UNWTO say that a rebound is possible only in 2022.
In 2019, international tourism arrivals increased by 4% to 1.5 billion, with France – the world’s most visited country, followed by Spain and the United States.