International Travel

Covid-19 and Tourism Report by UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) together with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have shared a joint report on the current situation with the COVID-19 and Tourism.


As we all know the Tourism sector has been affected hardly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report estimates a loss over $4 trillion to the global GDP for the years 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic and predicts that the international tourism will recover by 2023. The loss is worse than previously predicted last year.


Here some crucial points:

  • International tourism and closed sectors suffered an estimated loss of $2.4 trillion in 2020.
  • International travel was suspended in April and May of 2020 due to travel restrictions, travel bans, quarantines, lockdowns, etc. Inbound tourist arrivals declined 74% between January and December 2020, about 1 billion trips. According to UNWTO this massive drop returned the number of travelers back to levels of 30 years ago.
  • The reduction in tourism arrivals for the Philippines dropped by 84% in 2020.
  • The tourism sector is expected to recover faster in countries with high vaccination rates, meaning that the recovery will vary by region and country. For those developing countries with low vaccination rates are expected to have an unfavorable impact on international travel.
  • Domestic travel has increased, but still this does not make a big impact for those destinations or developing countries that depend on international travel.
  • The return to 2019 levels of the international travel arrivals are expected until 2023 or later. Also, it will depend on the travel restrictions, slow containment of the virus, low traveler confidence and a poor economic environment of each country.
  • The report assesses the economic effects of three alternative scenarios, one optimistic, one pessimistic and one where the asymmetric speed of vaccinations is considered, which all current scenarios indicate reductions in international arrivals.
  • Up to $1.8 trillion loss expected in 2021 in the tourism sector.
  • 5% rise in unemployment.
  • South-East Asia is one of the most affected regions.
  • Vaccination and COVID-19 certificates are key to restart global tourism and restore confidence in international tourism.

This article is summarized by latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and you can find it on their official page.


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