UN says international tourism won’t rebound until 2023

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In a report published on Wednesday, the United Nations predicted that international tourism arrivals would likely not rebound to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.

The U.N. study determined that tourism experts believed that global travel would not bounce back until at least 2023 or later, and almost a half of the experts interviewed said it would take until 2024 or later to see 2019 levels. 

Some of the difficulties the report cited included “travel restrictions, slow containment of the virus, low traveler confidence and a poor economic environment.”

The report noted that in 2020 overall, travel declined by 74 percent. Between March and December of that year, the decline was even more steep declining by 84 percent compared to the year before.

Some of the countries that saw larger reductions in 2020 include Mongolia (89 percent), China (88 percent), Philippines (84 percent) and Thailand (83 percent.)

The United Nations World Tourism Organization said that 100 to 120 million jobs directly related to tourism are at stake in 2021 and trillions of dollars lost globally, noting the economic toll of the pandemic worldwide.

“Taking the impact on closely linked sectors into account, the drop in international arrivals has caused an estimated loss of about $2.4 trillion in GDP in 2020 and it is possible that a similar loss occurs again this year,” the report said.

“More positive scenarios for this year with a stronger rebound in tourism in the second half still show a loss of about $1.7 to 1.8 trillion compared to 2019 levels. The recovery will depend to a large extent on the uptake of vaccines, the removal and coordination among countries of travel restrictions and the rebuilding of travelers’ confidence,” the report added. 


In 2021, the report predicted several scenarios, two in which travel would see an average reduction of 63 percent to 75 percent.

Tags COVID-19 GDP Tourism United Nations

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