Published on : Saturday, August 21, 2021
In March last year, it was predicted that the global travel cessation would cause international arrivals to plunge by 20 to 30% by the end of 2020. Six weeks later, the UNWTO revised their warning: international arrivals could drop by up to 80% – equating to a billion fewer tourists bringing the worst crisis in the history of the industry.
Sandra Carvão, chief of tourism market intelligence at the agency said that they are back to levels of travel they saw 30 years ago .
Eighteen months into the pandemic, domestic tourism is gradually coming back; however, efforts to open up international travel have been hampered by the emergence of new virus variants and by the changes in vaccine policy and availability between countries. The UNWTO said that recovery is “very fragile and uneven.” Almost 50% of experts surveyed by the UNWTO predicted that travel is doubtful to go back to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024.
The economic impact of the global tourism freeze is immense. As per an UNWTO report published with UN Conference on Trade and Development at the end of June, there is a loss of more than $4tn (£2.9tn) to global GDP by the end of 2021. Developing countries are expected to be hit the hardest, with Central America suffering the most.
The challenges for hoteliers and tour operators are huge, but the pandemic has also upturned millions of lives in tourism communities around the world.