International tourist arrivals tripled in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2021, with Europe leading the rebound as COVID-19 restrictions eased, the United Nations tourism agency said on Monday.
In the first three months of 2022, there were 117 million tourist arrivals worldwide, up from 41 million in the same period a year earlier, with figures showing an increase of 182%, the Organization said. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) based in Madrid. .
Although the figure remained 61% lower than in the first quarter of 2019, a year before the pandemic, it showed that tourism continued to recover “at a steady pace” as “restrictions ease and confidence is coming back,” he said.
“Of the 76 million additional international arrivals in the first three months, around 47 million were recorded in March, showing that the recovery is gaining momentum.”
The increase was particularly notable in Europe, which welcomed almost four times as many arrivals as in 2021, an increase of 280%.
Strong growth was also seen in the Americas, where arrivals more than doubled (+117%) and in the Middle East, up 132%.
“The gradual recovery is expected to continue through 2022 as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions and pent-up demand is unleashed,” the agency said, highlighting “significant increases in flight bookings.” .
As of June 2, 45 destinations (two-thirds of which were in Europe) no longer had COVID-19 related restrictions in place, while in Asia a growing number of destinations had started easing restrictions.
However, the UNWTO retained a cautious outlook for the coming months, given the risks associated with the “difficult economic environment” and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
“The Russian offensive against Ukraine appears to have had a limited direct impact on overall results so far,” he said.
But it had “major global economic repercussions” by exacerbating fuel and energy costs “resulting in increased transport and accommodation costs for the tourism sector” which could weigh on the recovery of the sector, he warned.