(Ecofin Agency) - Over the first quarter this year, international tourist arrivals dropped by 22% due to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported. This resulted in a decrease of 67 million in international arrivals and about $80 billion in revenue. The most impacted regions are Asia and the Pacific with a drop of 33 million arrivals, and Europe with a drop of 22 million arrivals.
According to a survey conducted by the UNWTO Expert Group, the institution believes that global tourism has remained at a standstill since covid-19 put the whole world into lockdown. To date, 100% of the world's 217 destinations continue to apply travel restrictions, and 72% have completely closed their borders to international tourism.
Also, restrictions have been in place for at least three months in 25% of destinations, while 40% have been in place for at least two months. The survey also reveals that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.
UNWTO found that 83% of destinations in Europe have decreed complete border closures for international tourism. This proportion is 80% in the Americas, 70% in Asia and the Pacific, 62% in the Middle East, and 57% in Africa.
In 2020, UNWTO notes that the outlook has been revised downwards several times since the outbreak of the pandemic and uncertainty continues to dominate. Current scenarios indicate a possible decline in arrivals from 58% to 78% for the year. However, these figures depend on the duration of travel restrictions and border closures.
In this regard, several exit scenarios have been established by the expert group, which indicates that the impact of the fall in demand for international travel could result in a drop from 850 million to 1.1 billion international tourists; a loss by $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in tourism export earnings; and the endangerment of 100 to 120 million direct jobs in tourism.
While indicating that this is by far the most serious crisis facing international tourism since 1950, the UNWTO Expert Group nevertheless expresses confidence in a rapid recovery of international demand. It expects to see signs of recovery in the last quarter of 2020, but especially in 2021.