More than 50% of global destinations have started easing travel restrictions, according to the latest data by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Analyzing restrictions up to September 1, the seventh edition of the UNWTO “Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism” shows that 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have eased travel restrictions, indicating an increase of 28 since July 19.
Out of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.
On the other hand, 93 destinations (43% of all worldwide destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to tourism, according to the study.
More than half of all destinations with borders completely closed to tourism are classified as being among the ‘world’s most vulnerable countries.’ These include ten Small Island Developing States (SIDS), one Least Developed Country (LDC) and three Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
Over half of destinations with full restrictions still in place are also highly dependent on aviation, with at least 70 per cent of their tourist arrivals coming by air.
Other key findings from the research include:
- Destinations which have eased travel restrictions generally have high or very high levels of health and hygiene infrastructure. They also tend to have comparatively low COVID-19 infection rates.
- Within advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations have eased restrictions. In emerging economies, just 47% of destinations have done so.
- About 64% of those destinations (with eased protocols) have a high or medium dependence on air as a mode of transport for international tourist arrivals.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Coordinated leadership and enhanced cooperation between governments mean tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world. Starting to ease restrictions on travel opens doors for tourism’s social and economic benefits to return. While we must remain vigilant and cautious, we are concerned about those destinations with ongoing full travel restrictions, especially where tourism is a lifeline and economic and social development are under threat.”
UNWTO continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism. From the start, the UN specialized agency has advised that the situation is fluid and that, even as tourism restarts in some regions, in others, restrictions may be tightened and borders re-closed. Similarly, UNWTO has observed a rise in travel advisories being issued by governments for their own citizens, alongside more and varied restrictions and other measures directed at passengers arriving from specific countries or regions.