United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) data on Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on international tourism revealed the cost until May was three times that of the 2009 global economic crisis. The United Nations agency has provided information about the impact of the pandemic, both in tourist numbers and lost revenues, before the latest information on travel restrictions worldwide released.
The latest data clarifies the importance of tourism revival
The latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that the lockdown led to a 98% fall in international tourist numbers in May, compared to 2019. It also shows a 56% year-on-year drop in tourist arrivals between January and May.
UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “This latest data makes clear the importance of restarting tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic fall in international tourism places many millions of livelihoods at risk, including in developing countries. Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses.
UNWTO also observed a gradual change in trend, mainly in the northern hemisphere after borders reopening across the Schengen Zone of the European Union on July 1st. While some destinations slowly restart tourism, the UNWTO Confidence Index has hit record lows, both for the evaluation of the period January-April 2020, and the prospects for May-August. Most UNWTO panel of tourism experts expect international tourism to recover by the second half of 2021. Others expect a rebound in the first part of next year.
They emphasized on various risks such as travel restrictions and border shutdowns still in place in most destinations, major outbound markets such as the United States and China being at standstill, safety concerns associated with travel, the resurgence of the virus and risks of new lockdowns or curfews. Lack of reliable information and a declining economic environment concerns are indicated as factors affecting consumer confidence.