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World Tourism Surged In July, But Fell Far Short Of Pre-COVID-19 Pandemic Levels

Published on Oct 6 2021 12:30 PM in General Industry tagged: UN / World Tourism Organization / COVID-19 / COVID-19 Vaccine / Tourissm

World Tourism Surged In July, But Fell Far Short Of Pre-COVID-19 Pandemic Levels

As reported by, the UN's tourism body, the World Tourism Organization, has said that world tourism surged in July, thanks to vaccination rollouts and fewer travel restrictions, but traveller numbers still fell far short of pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

Return Of Tourism

The World Tourism Organization reportedly said in a statement that 54 million tourists crossed international borders in July, the highest figure since April 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 crisis.

That reportedly represented an increase of 58% compared with the level recorded in July 2020, but was reportedly still a drop of 67% from the 164 million recorded in July of 2019.

The World Tourism Organization reportedly said, "This improvement was underpinned by the reopening of many destinations to international travel, mostly in Europe and the Americas...coupled with progress made in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines" which contributed to "gradually restoring safe mobility in Europe and other parts of the world," and, "Nevertheless, 2021 continues to be a challenging year for global tourism, with international arrivals down 80% in January-July compared to 2019."

Asia and the Pacific reportedly saw the steepest declines during the first seven months of the year, with a drop of 95% in international arrivals, followed by the Middle East, where numbers were reportedly down 82%, Europe and Africa, which reportedly registered a fall of 77%, and the Americas, which reportedly sustained a drop 68%.

Only a few small islands in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, alongside several small European destinations, reportedly recovered and counted arrivals close to, or even higher than, pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

The National Statistics Institute reportedly said that Spain, which was reportedly the world's second most popular tourist destination before the COVID-19 pandemic, said that it welcomed 15 million tourists in the first eight months of the year, a decline of 4.2% from the same period last year

The data reportedly cast doubt on the objective reportedly set by the Spanish government of attracting some 45 million foreign visitors in 2021, which is reportedly approximately half of the number of 2019.

UNWTO head Zurab Pololikashvili reportedly said in the statement, "The true restart of tourism and the benefits it brings, remains on hold as inconsistent rules and regulations and uneven vaccination rates continue to affect confidence in travel."

The UN body reportedly said that it is expecting to see a "rebound" in 2022, although global tourism is reportedly not expected to reach pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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