UNWTO monitors strong tourism rebound across the globe

 Tuesday, August 2, 2022 


Despite surging challenges in the economic and geopolitical arenas, international tourism is still showing strong signs of recovery from the brunt of the pandemic.

This has been clarified by the international tourism organization the UNWTO.

As per latest data collected from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism achieved a strong rebound in the first half of the current year with am whopping tourist traffic of 250 million.

The number can be compared to only that of the 77 million at the onset of the year 2021 which implies that the travel sector experienced an overhaul by 46% of the pre pandemic 2019 tourism scene.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said that tourism recovery has gathered momentum in different parts of the world riding out the challenges that came its way.

At the same time he warned about the economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges that could tell upon the sector in the remaining months of the year and thereafter.

Europe and Americas showing the way

Being boosted by strong demands across various regions and curbing of travel restrictions in many countries, Europe welcomed more than four times as any international traffic compared to that in the first five months of the year 2021 which is equivalent to more than 350%.

The European region experienced a busy Easter which is more than 458% while in the Americas the arrival was more than doubled i.e. 112%. However, this rebound is estimated against that in 2021.

Arrivals remained 36% and 40% below what is was in 2019 in both regions respectively.

The figures remained similar across other regions. The growth in the Middle East (more than 157%) and Africa (more than 156%) remained under 54% and 50% than it was in 2019 while Asia and Pacific almost doubled arrivals that are more than 94%.

Due to recent relaxations of travel restrictions, there has been improved results in April and May.

Some of the regions from the Caribbean, Central America, Southern Mediterranean, Western and Northern Europe recovered their tourism scenes by (70-80) % from that during the pre-pandemic levels.

It is important to note that some destinations excelled their 2019 levels. These regions include the US Virgin Islands, Republic of Moldova, Honduras, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten.

Tourism spending on the rise

As tourism recovered, expenditure generated in major source markets is consistent. Tourists from France, Germany, Italy and the United States contributed to international expenditure by (70-85)% than it was during the pre-pandemic levels.

At the same time, spending from India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar has already exceeded 2019 levels.

As per the receipts received in various destinations from the international travellers from a number of countries such as Repulic of Moldova, Serbia, Seychelles, Romania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Pakistan, Sudan, Bangladesh, Saint Lucia, El Salvador, Mexico, Croatia, Portugal and Türkiye have completely recovered from their states during the pre pandemic conditions.

Defying escalating challenges

As more and more destinations relaxed restrictions it is expected that there will be a strong demand for travel during the North Hemisphere summer season. As of July 22, around 62 destinations (among which 39 destinations are European) had no COVID-19 related restrictions.

Also, many Asian destinations started easing out their restrictions.

The total reduction in the international air capacity in 2022 will contain within (20-25) % of the airline’s seats compared to what it was in 2019. This is stated by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The hotel occupancy rates also show similar resilience.

However, due to the unexpectedly strong demand, there is a significant amount of operational and workforce related challenges.

Also due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and surging inflation and interest rates, there is a lurking fear of economic slowdown.

Scenario across regions in 2022

UNWTOs futuristic scenarios published in May 2022 reveal the escalation of international tourist arrival from 55% to 70% of the pre-pandemic levels.

Changing travel restrictions, evolving circumstances, ongoing inflation, high energy prices, overall economic conditions, Ukraine war and the health scene due to the pandemic influenced the results.

Moreover, challenges such as staff shortage, severe airport congestions, flights delay and cancellations could also influence international tourist traffic in great numbers.

As information gathered from various regions, Europe and Americas show the best tourism results in 2022 while the regions in Asia and Pacific is expected to be on the backseat due to more stringent travel policies.

Arrival of international travellers in Europe could escalate to (65-80)% of that was in 2019 depending on various conditions. In the Americas it could reach (63-76)% of those levels.

In Africa and the Middle East, arrivals could reach about 50% to 70% of pre-pandemic levels. In comparison, in the Asia Pacific, they would remain at 30% of 2019 levels in the best-case scenario due to stricter policies and restrictions.

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