Published on : Monday, March 15, 2021
One in three destinations globally are now completely shut for international tourism. As per latest data from the UNWTO, the appearance of new variants of the COVID-19 virus has prompted many governments to tighten their relaxations on travel, with total closures for tourists mainly in Asia, the Pacific and Europe.
The UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report provides a comprehensive outline of the regulations in place in 217 destinations worldwide. While previous editions reflected a tendency towards easing or lifting restrictions on travel, the latest report shows governments going for a more watchful approach.
As of the beginning of February, 32% of all destinations worldwide (69 in total) are fully closed for international tourism. Of these, around just over half (38 destinations) are closed for at least 40 weeks. 34% of worldwide destinations are now partly closed for international tourists.
To quote the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Polilikashvili, “Travel restrictions have been widely used to restrict the spread of the virus. Now, as we work to restart tourism, we must recognise that restrictions are just one part of the solution. Their use must be based on the latest data and analysis and consistently reviewed so as to allow for the safe and responsible restart of a sector upon which many millions of businesses and jobs depend.”
Among 69 destinations where borders are totally closed for tourists, 30 are in Asia and the Pacific, 15 are in Europe, 11 are in Africa, 10 are in the Americas and three are in the Middle East.
The UNWTO research also indicates a trend towards taking up a more nuanced, evidence and risk-based approach towards implementing travel restrictions. A lot of destinations globally now require international tourists to furnish a negative PCR or antigen test upon arrival and also provide contact details in order to be traced.