Global tourism surged in July, but fell well below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels

As reported by, the United Nations tourism body, the World Tourism Organization, said global tourism increased in July, thanks to the roll-out of vaccination and fewer travel restrictions, but the number of travelers was still good below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

Return of tourism

The World Tourism Organization reportedly said in a statement that 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July, the highest figure since April 2020, during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis.

This would represent an increase of 58% from the level recorded in July 2020, but would still be a decrease of 67% from the 164 million recorded in July 2019.

The World Tourism Organization reportedly said: “This improvement has been supported by the reopening of many destinations to international travel, primarily in Europe and the Americas … coupled with progress in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines” which have helped “gradually restore safe mobility to Europe and other parts of the world”, and “Nonetheless, 2021 continues to be a difficult year for global tourism, with international arrivals down 80% in January-July compared to to 2019. “

Asia and the Pacific are said to have experienced the largest declines in the first seven months of the year, with a 95% drop in international arrivals, followed by the Middle East, where numbers are said to have fallen by 82%, Europe and Africa, which would have recorded a drop of 77%, and the Americas, which would have suffered a decline of 68%.

Only a few small islands in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as several small European destinations, have reportedly recovered and had arrivals close to, if not above, levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Institute of Statistics reportedly said Spain, which was said to have been the second most popular tourist destination in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic, said it welcomed 15 million tourists in the first eight months of the year. year, a decrease of 4.2% compared to the same period. period last year

The data would have cast doubt on the reported target set by the Spanish government of attracting some 45 million foreign visitors by 2021, roughly half of the number in 2019.

UNWTO Director Zurab Pololikashvili reportedly said in the statement: “The real upturn in tourism and the benefits it brings remains unresolved as inconsistent rules and regulations and uneven vaccination rates continue to affect the region. confidence in travel “.

The United Nations body has reportedly said it expects a “rebound” in 2022, although global tourism is not expected to reach pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click on subscribe to register for Hospitality Ireland printed edition.

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