International travel not expected to recover fully before 2024

Published on : Saturday, January 22, 2022

The UNWTO said that international travel won’t recover fully before 2024. But what’s in store for India, where tourism is one of the largest employers?

Among all the sectors that the Covid pandemic affected worldwide, tourism has been the worst hit. 2021 ended with a promising note. As the vaccination drive covered a larger share of population around the globe, people started making travel plans. However, Omicron thwarted those plans.

Countries started shutting down their borders again, travel advisories were given out and international tourism became cautious. Foreign tourist arrivals dipped 63% at the end of 2021 from the pre-pandemic levels, said the UNWTO. India remained 96% below its pre-pandemic numbers till June last year, which means that almost all of its international tourism earnings got wiped out.

Hotel bookings waveredgreatly. In South Asia, there were signs of recovery in October 2020. But all gains suffered a blow again with the second wave, with the downward slide starting again in April 2021. When that subsided, hotel bookings saw better times in July last year. By September, they had actually surpassed the 2019 numbers. Then, Omicron was detected in November, and the numbers started dipping again.

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