The UNWTO says that after stronger than expected recovery in 2022, this year could see international tourism arrivals return to pre-pandemic levels in Europe and the Middle East.
Tourists are nonetheless expected to increasingly seek value for money and travel closer to home in response to the challenging economic climate.
In a forward-looking scenario for 2023, the UNWTO indicates that global international tourist arrivals could reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels, depending on the extent of the economic slowdown; the ongoing recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific; and the evolution of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, among other factors.
With all regions bouncing back, the UNWTO is anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty
According to new data UNWTO, more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021 though still 63% of pre-pandemic levels.
Every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers.
The Middle East enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers. Europe reached nearly 80% of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022. Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached only 23%, due to stronger pandemic-related restrictions which have started to be removed only in recent months.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty. Economic factors may influence how people travel in 2023 and UNWTO expects demand for domestic and regional travel to remain strong and help drive the sector’s wider recovery.”