One in three destinations worldwide is completely closed to world tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially in Asia and Europe, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) indicated on Monday.
Although countries began to relax restrictions last year, the emergence of new variants of the virus and “the persistent seriousness of the epidemiological situation has led governments to adopt a more cautious approach,” the UNWTO said in a statement.
At the beginning of February, 69 out of 217 destinations worldwide (32%) were completely closed to international tourists, including 30 in Asia and the Pacific, 15 in Europe and 11 in Africa, according to the UN body based in Madrid.
The peak was recorded in May 2020, when 75% of world destinations were closed. Last November, with the easing, the figure was lower than the current one, 27%.
The report nonetheless detected “a tendency to apply travel restrictions with a more nuanced approach and based on empirical data and risks.”
Thus, 32% of destinations worldwide request a PCR test on arrival, as the main requirement to enter, sometimes combined with quarantine.
“Travel restrictions have been widely used to prevent the spread of the virus. Now, as we work to restart tourism, we must recognize that restrictions are only part of the solution,” estimated UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, quoted in the statement.
In 2020, the number of international tourist arrivals fell by 74% (1 billion arrivals) due to the pandemic, according to UNWTO.
Likewise, the pandemic meant an economic loss for the sector estimated at 1.3 trillion dollars.
ds / du / avl / zm