Restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to hit global tourism hard. According to the data collected by UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international arrivals for the first eight months of 2020 are reduced by 70%!
All world regions recorded large declines in arrivals in the first eight months of the year. Asia and the Pacific, the first region to suffer from the impact of COVID-19, saw a 79% decrease in arrivals, followed by Africa and the Middle East (both – 69%), Europe (-68%) and the Americas (-65%).
Following its gradual reopening of international borders, Europe recorded comparatively smaller declines in July and August (-72% and -69%, respectively). The recovery was short-lived however, as travel restrictions and advisories were reintroduced amid an increase in contagions. On the other side of the spectrum, Asia and the Pacific recorded the largest declines with -96% in both months, reflecting the closure of borders in China and other major destinations in the region.
UNWTO’s Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in 2021, mostly in the third quarter of 2021.
However, around 20% of experts suggest the rebound could occur only in 2022. Travel restrictions are seen as the main barrier standing in the way of the recovery of international tourism, along with slow virus containment and low consumer confidence.