Full recovery of global tourism unlikely before 2024, says UN


As the omicron variant, which continues to spread around the world, is hurting economic recovery, global tourist arrivals are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at the earliest, the Organization said on Tuesday. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The tourism industry has suffered a severe blow in 2020 due to closures and travel restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which has forced people around the world to limit their activity and many have lost their livelihoods .

The highly contagious, albeit mild, omicron variant will disrupt the recovery in early 2022 after recording 4% growth last year compared to 2020, according to the Madrid-based UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer. .

Tourism revenue in 2020 was down 72% from the previous year – which ended with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across regions of the world due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence,” UNWTO said in a statement. Press release.

“The recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant are expected to disrupt the recovery and affect confidence through early 2022 as some countries reintroduce travel bans and restrictions for certain markets,” the report said.

In Europe and the Americas, foreign visitor arrivals jumped 19% and 17%, respectively, last year compared to 2020.

In the Middle East, however, arrivals were down 24% in 2021, while in the Asia-Pacific region they were 65% below 2020 levels and 94% below pre-pandemic levels.

The press release indicates that tourism professionals “see better prospects” for this year after the turbulence of the first months due to the omicron wave.

The agency predicts a 30% to 78% increase in international arrivals this year compared to 2021 while remaining well below 2019 levels.

Most experts say they don’t expect a return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024, he said.

Many countries are heavily dependent on tourism and are eagerly awaiting a return to normal.

“The economic contribution of tourism in 2021 (measured in tourism direct gross domestic product) is estimated at $1.9 trillion, above the $1.6 trillion in 2020, but still well below the pre -$3.5 trillion pandemic,” the statement read.

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