40% of destinations ease travel restrictions
By Anjali Caldera
Forty per cent of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19, revealed latest analysis from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Previously, as recorded on 19 July only 22 per cent of destinations had eased restrictions on travel. However, it confirms the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism.
Out of the forty per cent (87 destinations) that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place. This latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report also shows that 115 destinations (53 per cent of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.
Further, according to the UNWTO report, destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to be easing restrictions on travel: thus of the 87 destinations that have eased restrictions recently, 20 are Small Island Developing States (SIDS).The report also shows that around half (41) of all those destinations that have eased restrictions are in Europe.
Looking at the 115 destinations that continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism, the report finds that a majority (88) have been completely closed their borders for international tourism for more than 12 weeks.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has stated, “The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods.” He has further insisted as destinations continue, to ease restrictions on travel, it is important to have international cooperation.
Last week, UNWTO released the data on the impact of the pandemic on tourism, both in terms of lost tourist arrivals and lost revenues. The data shows that by already by the end of May, the pandemic had led to US$320 billion in lost revenues, already three times the cost of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis.