The United Nations specialised agency for tourism, UNWTO, has confirmed that tourism is seeing a slight resurgence are travel bans and COVID restrictions being to ease. Although “many remain cautious in view of the development of the pandemic,” the latest report from UNWTO finds that a majority of destinations around the world (53%) have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It seems that tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world.
115 Worldwide Destinations Are Easing COVID Restrictions
The report finds that a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have eased travel restrictions. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions (Maldives and Albania).
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Starting to ease restrictions on travel opens also the doors for tourism’s social and economic benefits to return. While we must remain vigilant and cautious, we are concerned about those destinations with ongoing full travel restrictions, especially where tourism is a lifeline and economic and social development are under threat.”
The report says that restrictions vary depending on the country’s economy and reliance on tourism. Within advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations have already eased restrictions. In emerging economies, just 47% of destinations have done so. Europe is the most ‘open’ so far, while Asia remains mostly shut.
Caution Remains for Many Destinations
93 destinations (43% of all worldwide destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to tourism. More than half of all destinations with borders completely closed to tourism are among the “World’s Most Vulnerable Countries.”
This demonstrates that many developing countries simply are not able to monitor or implement contact tracing or quarantine facilities for arrivals. Instead, they must remain shut to tourists and wait for the pandemic to pass. Islands are also at risk, as they depend largely on air arrivals.
As for what the future of the global tourism industry holds? UNWTO says that the situation remains “fluid”. It advises that “even as tourism restarts in some regions, in others, restrictions may be tightened and borders re-closed.”