Tourism showed signs of slight recovery in June and July with more people crossing borders as compared to 2020, but 2021 remains a challenging year for the global travel industry, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said on Monday.
“An estimated 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July 2021, down 67% from the same month in 2019, but the strongest results since April 2020. This compares to an estimated 34 million international arrivals recorded in July 2020, though well below the 164 million figure recorded in 2019,” the UNWTO said in a press release. “Nevertheless, 2021 continues to be a challenging year for global tourism, with international arrivals down 80% in January-July compared to 2019.”
UNWTO said the rebound in international arrivals is the result of the authorities relaxing restrictions for vaccinated travelers, the progress in global COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and increased consumer confidence in travel.
The Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East were among the regions that saw a moderate improvement in international arrivals. The Caribbean showed the best performance among world sub-regions, while Mexico earned roughly the same tourism recipe in June 2021 as in 2019, the UNWTO said.
Asia and the Pacific suffered the weakest results in January-July, compared to 2019, with a 95% decline in international arrivals.
Looking ahead, UNWTO said the period September-December will see mixed results, with 53% of its Panel of Experts predicting they will be worse than expected. However, almost half of the experts expect global tourism to return to 2019 pre-COVID levels in 2024 or later.