Published on : Friday, April 17, 2020
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently issued a new report highlighting the scale of disruption caused to the global tourism industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report outlines a comprehensive study on travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the tourism industry across the world.
The landmark report has been published at an unprecedented time when the tourism disruption sector is facing the worst crisis in history. The report showcases that almost all global destinations have imposed restrictions on travel since January 2020. It also mentions that almost every across the globe has enforced complete bans on all travel to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO said in a recent press statement that the COVID-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before. He mentioned that governments across the globe have prioritised public health first and introduced full or partial travel restrictions. He informed that as a result of the current situation and suspension of tourism millions of jobs are at risk.
He also said that progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could also come to a standstill for the moment. He further added that he is calling upon governments on behalf of UNWTO requesting them to review travel restrictions and ease or lift them immediately after it is safe to do the needful.
Over the past few years, UNWTO has been constantly monitoring travel facilitation. It has observed a continuous trend towards more openness. Unfortunately, the organisation also noticed that COVID-19 has dramatically interrupted the read. According to recent research for the new report, 96% of all worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions due to coronavirus as of April 6. Around 90 destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists, while a further 44 are closed to certain tourists depending on the country of origin.
The UNWTO global review shows that the global regions are largely consistent in their efforts as a response to COVID-19. According to the review, 92% of destinations have undertaken COVID-19-related restrictions since January 2020 in the Americas. Meanwhile, the proportion is 93% as of April 6. Finally, 100% of destinations in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East have taken similar steps. The organisation also reports that in many instances, destinations have already adjusted their restrictive measures as the situation has evolved.
However, UNWTO has decided to continue regular tracking and analysis of the evolution of travel restrictions, in an effort to effectively support the responsible but also timely recovery of the tourism sector.