Tourist destinations across the globe are taking the first tentative steps towards easing Covid-19-related travel restrictions, new research by UNWTO has shown.
Amid the UN agency releasing its global guidelines for reopening tourism, three per cent of all global destinations have now taken steps to ease travel restrictions.
The recently-released fourth edition of UNWTO’s COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism report, looked at the measures of 217 destinations worldwide as of May 18, 2020.
Seven destinations have eased travel restrictions for international tourism purposes, while several other destinations are engaged in significant discussions about the reopening of borders, showed its research.
Still, caution remains, with the report noting that 100 per cent of all destinations worldwide continue to have some form of Covid-19-related travel restrictions in place.
Furthermore, as of May 18, 75 per cent continued to have their borders completely closed for international tourism. In 37 per cent of all cases, travel restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 per cent of global destinations have had restrictions in place for 14 weeks or more.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way. This will contribute to the livelihoods of many millions of people around the world. The sector is a driver of sustainable development and a pillar of economies. UNWTO stresses the need for vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation as the world slowly opens up again.”
Pololikashvili also welcomed the growing confidence in the global tourism sector, noting it stands ready to return to growth.
Zooming in on global travel restrictions, the UNWTO research showed that the more important tourism is to the economies of individual destinations, the more likely they are to have introduced complete border closures.
In the case of SIDS destinations (Small Island Developing States), 85 per cent continue to have their borders completely closed for tourism purposes.
All UNWTO regions have more than 65 per cent of their destinations completely closed to tourism: Africa (74 per cent), Americas (86 per cent), Asia and the Pacific (67 per cent), Europe (74 per cent) and the Middle East (69 per cent), found the report.