Restrictions ease globally

Rosewood

Forty per cent of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19, according to the UNWTO.

The figure, dated 19 July, was up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June.

Of the 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods. As destinations continue to ease restrictions on travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance. This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.”

According to the UNWTO report, destinations with a higher dependency on tourism were more likely to be easing restrictions on travel: of the 87 destinations that have eased restrictions recently, 20 were Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which depend on tourism as a central pillar of employment, economic growth and  development. The report also shows that around half (41) of all those destinations that have eased restrictions are in Europe, confirming the leading role of the region for the responsible restart of tourism.

The UNWTO said that by the end of May, the pandemic had led to $320bn in lost revenues, already three times the cost of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis.