4% Recovery in international tourism in 2021
Domestic travel, outdoor activities, natural products, and agritourism are some trends shaping tourism in 2022. 4% Recovery in international tourism in 2021
Global Tourism during 2021
Source for analyses UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
globally recovered 4% in 2021, compared to 2020 (415 million versus 400 million). However, UNWTO preliminary estimates indicate that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) were 72% lower than in the pre-pandemic year 2019. Moreover, tourism has been suffering since 2020, when international arrivals fell by 73%.
It is stated in the UNWTO Global Tourism Barometer for 2022 that the easing of travel restrictions, combined with an increase in vaccination rates, has contributed to the release of limited demand. As a result of the pandemic, international arrivals fell by 62% in the third and fourth quarters of 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Limited data suggest that international arrivals in December were 65% lower than in 2019. Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases and the “Omicron” variant, its full impact has not yet passed.
Recovery was uneven and slow% Recovery in international tourism in 2021
The pace of recovery is slow and uneven throughout the world due to varying levels of mobility constraints, vaccination rates, and traveller confidence. Compared to 2020, Europe and America recorded the best results in 2021 (+ 19% and + 17%, respectively), but both remain 63% below pre-pandemic levels.
With some destinations approaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the Caribbean showed the highest performance (+63%) above 2020, although it fell 37% below 2019. Likewise, the Southern Mediterranean (+57%) and Central America (+54%) recovered significantly but remained 54% and 56% below the levels of 2019. Also above 2020 levels were North America (+ 17%) and Central Eastern Europe (+ 18%).
Similarly, arrivals in Africa increased 12% in 2021 compared to 2020 but are still 74% below 2019. Over the past two years, Middle East arrivals have fallen by 24% and 79%, respectively. Despite nearly three years of travel bans, arrivals are still 65% below 2020 and 94% below pre-pandemic levels in Asia/Pacific.
Prospects for 2022
Per the latest forecasts from the UNWTO Expert Group, most tourism professionals (61%) expect better prospects for 2022. Among those expecting a recovery, 58% primarily in the third quarter of 2022, while 42% predict a comeback only in 2023. In the September survey, 45% of experts indicated arrivals would return to 2019 levels by 2024 or later. Now, 64% expect international arrivals to return only in 2024 or later. 4% Recovery in international tourism in 2021
For the period Jan.-Apr., UNWTO (UNWTO Confidence Index) has declined slightly. 2022. Globally, experts have identified rapid and widespread vaccination, a significant lifting of travel restrictions, and better coordination and more precise information about travel protocols as key to the effective recovery of international tourism. According to UNWTO “scenarios,” international tourist arrivals could increase by 30-78% compared to 2021, though still 50-63% below pre-pandemic levels
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