International tourism is still struggling to recover

2 min reading time

Published on 22/07/21 - Updated on 17/03/22


At the beginning of the second pandemic year, international tourism is not back to normal, as the virus is still circulating in various countries.

This is the first time since the beginning of modern tourism that a crisis has been so dramatic. Between the re-emergence of strict border’s laws and the interruption of almost every traffics in the world, it seemed that globalisation was no more.

Fortunately, this archaic way of thinking was quickly dropped and mutual assistance returned to an almost normal state.

Today, if traffics were partially resumed, tourism is still in a critical condition. From January to May, the UNWTO recorded a drop of 86% in the arrival of international travellers compared to the same period back in 2019, even if a small recovery in May 2021 can be noted, of the order of 4%.

This minimal one can be attributed to the easing of restricting measure in some countries. If we can hope for a reinforcement of this trend, variants and other variables has also to be put in consideration.

On a more cheerful note, local tourism tends to regain ground, especially in well developed markets such as Russia or America. Being unable to travel all around the world, people has restarted to visit their countries and contributed to the rebound of the industry, as money destined to go to other countries was spent in local markets. In Russia for example, seat capacity on domestic flights has already gone past the pre-pandemic level.

To conclude and as The UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said:

Accelerating the pace of vaccinations around the world, ensuring effective coordination and communication of ever-changing travel restrictions, and promoting digital tools to facilitate mobility: all of these are essential to restore confidence in travel and getting tourism moving again

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