The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that 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.
In its latest research, the UNWTO found that 22% of all destinations worldwide -48 destinations — have started to ease restrictions, with Europe leading the way.
At the same time, the UNWTO’s research found that 65% of all destinations worldwide — 141 destinations — continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The restart of tourism is of vital importance – for livelihoods, for businesses and for national economies. This latest overview of global travel restrictions shows that growing numbers of destinations are beginning to ease the restrictions they introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being done in a responsible and measured way.” Pololikashvili continued: “However, this crisis is not over. 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.”
UNWTO will continue to work with its 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
According to UNWTO, as of June 15, 22% of all destinations (48 destinations) have now eased restrictions on travel, up from just 3% (7 destinations) on May 18. 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, including 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 June 15, 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.
The UNWTO has been monitoring responses to the pandemic since the start of the current crisis and this is its latest update, the fifth edition of COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism.