Latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has shown that one in three destinations worldwide are completely closed to international tourism. The emergence of the new COVID-19 strains has caused many governments to recall orders that had initially eased travel restrictions. Total closures to travellers is most common in Asia, the Pacific and Europe.
69 destinations are completely closed for international tourists
The UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report offers an overview of the regulations in place in 217 destinations worldwide. Previous editions of the report showed movement towards the lifting of travel restrictions, the latest reports have revealed that concerns over new strains have caused governments to be more cautious. As of February, 32 percent of all destinations worldwide (69 in total) are completely closed for international tourism. Around half of these have been closed for atleast 40 weeks. Additionally, 34 percent of worldwide destinations are partially closed to international tourists.
UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Polilikashvili, said: “Travel restrictions have been widely used to restrict the spread of the virus.Now, as we work to restart tourism, we must recognise that restrictions are just one part of the solution. Their use must be based on the latest data and analysis and consistently reviewed so as to allow for the safe and responsible restart of a sector upon which many millions of businesses and jobs depend.”
UNWTO research has also indicated a trend towards adopting a more nuanced, evidence and risk-based approach to implementing travel restrictions. Several global destinations required international tourists to present a negative PCR or antigen test upon arrival. UNWTO has also stated that the advice issued by governments will play a crucial role in the restart and recovery of tourism in days ahead.