International Tourism Approaches Pre-Pandemic Levels

International Tourism Approaches Pre-Pandemic Levels

While few industries have been spared by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past three years, even fewer have been hit as hard as the tourism sector.

After Covid-19 had made 2020 “the worst year in tourism history“, international tourist arrivals increased by just 13 percent in 2021, as travel restrictions remained in place for long periods in many parts of the world.

Now, as Statista’s Felix Richter reports, more than three and a half years after the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, optimism has finally returned to the industry.

“The latest UNWTO data shows that international tourism has almost completely recovered from the unprecedented crisis of Covid-19 with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and receipts,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololiksahvili said at the launch of the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer last month.

“This is critical for destinations, businesses, and communities where the sector is a major lifeline.”

As the following chart shows, global tourism continued its recovery in 2023 and is now expected to end the year at almost 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels in terms of international tourist arrivals.

You will find more infographics at Statista

China’s reopening earlier this year marked another milestone on the road to full recovery, after the region long trailed behind the rest of the world. In the first nine months of 2023, international tourist arrivals in the Asia-Pacific region reached 62 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with a clear upward trend towards the end of that period. That’s a significant improvement compared to last year, when the region saw just 26 percent of 2019 arrivals due to ongoing travel restrictions, especially in China.

Citing the strong recovery in air passenger numbers and tourist accommodation occupancy levels, the UNWTO now sees international tourism “well on track to fully recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024”, which is all the more impressive considering the challenging economic backdrop and the uncertainties associated with lingering geopolitical tensions and several ongoing conflicts.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the global tourism sector had seen almost uninterrupted growth for decades. Since 1980, the number of international arrivals skyrocketed from 277 million to nearly 1.5 billion in 2019. As our chart shows, the two largest crises of the past decades, the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the global financial crisis of 2009, were minor bumps in the road compared to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 12/21/2023 – 02:45 Source

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