SIGNS OF RECOVERY, in global tourism were noted in June and July, 2021, as a result of increasing number of global vaccination rollout in many parts of the world, and the easing of travel restrictions, according to the latest edition, of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Global tourism, used the occasion of 2021 World Tourism Day, celebrated in September 2021, to reaffirm its commitment to make the sector a pillar of inclusive growth. Business and political leaders, also, used the occasion to state their commitment, to solidly unite in the mutual message of solidarity and determination to ‘leave nobody behind’ as tourism restarts and grows back.
The global commitment to inclusive growth in the restart of tourism, brings hope to millions worldwide. The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, latest edition, stated that estimated 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July 2021; down by 67% in the same month in 2019; the strongest results since April 2020, when compared to estimated 34 million international arrivals recorded in July 2020; but significantly, below the 164 million figures recorded in 2019.
REPORTED DATA from most destinations in June and July 2021, according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, saw a moderate rebound in international arrivals compared to 2020. It stated, that 2021, however, continued to be challenging year for global tourism. International arrivals were down by 80% in January to July, compared to 2019.
Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the weakest results in the period January to July, with 95% drop in international arrivals compared to 2019. The Middle East [-82%] recorded the second largest decline, followed by Europe and Africa [both -77%]. The Americas [-68%] saw a comparatively smaller decrease, with the Caribbean showing the best performance among world sub-regions.
On the slightly positive side, some small islands in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific; as well as few small European destinations, recorded the best performance in June and July, 2021, with arrivals close to, or sometimes exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
THE IMPROVEMENTS on tourism rebound, is an indication of confidence, that travel was slowly rising. This was as a result of reopening of many destinations to international travel, mostly in Europe and the Americas, UNWTO World Tourism Barometer noted.
Relaxation of travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers, coupled with progress made in roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, contributed to boosting consumer confidence and gradually restoring safe mobility in Europe and other part of the world. Most destinations in Asia remain closed to non-essential travel.
Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General said: “There is clearly a strong demand for international tourism, and many destinations have started welcoming visitors back safely and responsibly. However, the true restart of tourism and the benefits it brings, remain on hold as inconsistent rules and regulations and uneven vaccination rates continue to affect confidence in travel.”
EARNING FROM TOURISM, recorded modest improvement in June and July; some even surpassed the earnings of 2019; though destinations continued to report week international tourism revenue in the first seven months in 2021.
Mexico, among the larger destinations, in June 2021, earned tourism receipt, close to what it earned in 2019; and in July posted a 2% increase over 2019.The same is true for outbound travel. Among the larger markets, France [-35%] and the United States [-49%] saw a significant improvement in July, though tourism spending was still well below 2019 levels.
UNWTO PANEL OF EXPERTS survey, noted that outlook for September to December 2021, remain mixed. According to the survey, 53% of respondents believed the period could be worse than expected; while 31% expect better results towards the end of the year.
Tourism professionals expect a rebound, that would driven by “unleashed pent-up” demand for international travels in 2022, in the second and third quarters. About half of the experts [45%] see international tourism returning to 2019 levels, in 2024 or later; while 43% point to a recovery in 2023.
By regions, the largest segment of experts, point to return to 2019 levels, in 2024 or later, in Asia and the Pacific [58%]. Europe, half of respondents indicated it could happen in 2023. Middle East is the most optimistic, with a full recovery expected by 2022.