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World tourism advanced in 2021, but is still a fraction of pre-pandemic levels

The global tourism industry barely improved last year compared to 2020 as all indicators remain well below pre-pandemic levels and industry professionals do not expect a full recovery before 2024, the World Organization said. of Tourism (UNWTO).

The tourism sector took a major hit in 2020 as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, which caused people around the world to limit their activity and lose their livelihoods.

Rising vaccination rates and easing of travel restrictions allowed for a small rebound in the second half of 2021, the Madrid-based organization said in a report, though the spread of the omicron variant in December triggered another drop. in both travel bookings and industry optimism.

“The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to differing degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates, and traveler confidence,” the report said.

Southern Europe, Central America and the Caribbean recorded the largest increases in tourist arrivals compared to 2020, but were still, respectively, 54%, 56% and 37% below the 2019 figures.

Meanwhile, tourist numbers in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific continued to fall in 2021, respectively falling 79% and 94% below pre-pandemic levels, as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel. .

Global direct gross tourism product rose 19% in 2021 from 2020, to $1.9 trillion, according to the report, as each tourist spent more and stayed longer than in 2020. revenue from the tourism sector barely exceeded half of 2019 levels.

Some 64% of tourism professionals surveyed by UNWTO in December do not expect a full recovery before 2024 or later, compared to 45% surveyed in September, when the prospects for a revival of travel had not yet been dimmed by omicron

“The recent increase in cases of COVID-19 and the omicron variant will disrupt the recovery and affect confidence until the beginning of 2022, as some countries have re-introduced travel bans and restrictions for certain markets,” the report said. report.


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