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Tuesday 9 May 2023

Global tourism is bouncing back, says UNWTO

International tourism is well on its way to returning to pre-pandemic levels, with twice as many people travelling during the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period of 2022.

That's the very positive news from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The second UNWTO World Tourism barometer of the year shows that the sector’s swift recovery has continued into 2023. 

It reveals that overall international arrivals reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023; and that an estimated 235 million tourists travelled internationally in the first three months of the year, more than double the same period of 2022.

The UNWTO says tourism has continued to show its resilience with revised data for 2022 showing over 960 million tourists travelling internationally last year, meaning two-thirds (66%) of pre-pandemic numbers were recovered.

Driven by strong intra-regional demand. Africa reached 88% and the Americas about 85% of 2019 levels while Asia and the Pacific lagged behind with 54% of pre-pandemic levels.

This upward trend is set to accelerate now that most destinations, particularly China, have re-opened.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “The start of the year has shown again tourism’s unique ability to bounce back. In many places, we are close to or even above pre-pandemic levels of arrivals.

"We must, however, remain alert to challenges ranging from geopolitical insecurity, staffing shortages, and the potential impact of the cost-of-living crisis on tourism, and we must ensure tourism’s return delivers on its responsibilities as a solution to the climate emergency and as a driver of inclusive development.”

Image: Zeina Kassem, 

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