The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says new research indicates that 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of countries have completely closed their borders to inbound tourism.
This latest UNWTO research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, 100% of destinations worldwide still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place.
Out of all 217 destinations worldwide, 156 have placed a complete stop on international tourism according to the data collected as of 27 April 2020. In 25% of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago.
Interestingly, the study found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.
“Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries lockdown and people stay at home,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.
“UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world.
“Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”
UNWTO has found that 83% of destinations in Europe have introduced complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80%, in Asia and the Pacific it is 70%, in the Middle East it is 62% and in Africa it is 57%.
Last week UNWTO reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 22% drop in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020, but that number could slump to an annual decline of between 60%-80% compared to figures in 2019.