Restrictions on travel, introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to restart in a growing number of destinations. The latest research by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that 22% of all destinations worldwide (48 destinations) have started to ease restrictions, with Europe leading the way. At the same time, 65% of all destinations worldwide (141 destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism.
UNWTO has been monitoring responses to the pandemic since the start of the current crisis. UNWTO’s findings, collected in ‘COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism’, show that the sector is slowly restarting, though this restart is significantly more pronounced in some global regions.
“The restart of tourism is of vital importance,” “For livelihoods, for businesses and for national economies. A growing numbers of destinations are beginning to ease the restrictions they introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and this is being done in a responsible and measured way.”UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
“However, this crisis is not over,” Pololikashvili stressed. “UNWTO will continue to work with our Member States around the world to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to ensure that, when the time is right, tourism can help drive a responsible and sustainable recovery.”
Other regions remain closed
According to UNWTO, as of 15 June, 22% of all destinations (48 destinations) have now eased restrictions on travel, up from just 3% (7 destinations) on 18 May. Destinations that have eased travel restrictions for tourists include:
- 37 destinations in Europe, including 24 of the 26 Schengen Member States
- 6 destinations in the Americas, including 5 Small Island Developing States
- 3 destinations in Asia and the Pacific; 2 Small Island Developing States
- 2 destinations in Africa
At the same time, the COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions report makes clear that many destinations are maintaining a cautious approach to lifting or easing restrictions on travel. As of 15 June, 24% of all destinations worldwide (51 destinations) have had travel restrictions now in place for 19 weeks and 37% (80 destinations) for 15 weeks.
In total, 65% of destinations worldwide (141 destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed. In Africa, the proportion of destinations where borders remain closed to tourists stands now at 85%. In the Americas, 76% of destinations maintain full border closures, as do 67% of destinations in Asia and the Pacific and 92% of destinations in the Middle East. In Europe, these full border closures are reduced now to 26% of all destinations.