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UNWTO reveals that the responsible restart of tourism is underway around the world, as destinations are easing covid-19 related travel restrictions and adapt to the new reality. The latest analysis indicates that 40% of all destinations worldwide has eased the restrictions and resumed international tourism.

The agency has been monitoring global responses to the pandemic from the start of the crisis. The latest outlook, recorded on 19 July, is up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the 3% previously observed by 15 May. The figures confirm the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism.

However, out of 87 destinations that have eased travel restrictions, only 4 have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased with partial border close still in place. This latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report in addition shows that 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism. 

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general 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.”

The UNWTO report states that destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to be easing restrictions on travel. It also shows that around half 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 cost related to the travel restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19 has historic dimensions. This week, UNWTO released the data on the impact of the pandemic on tourism, both in terms of lost tourist arrivals and lost revenues. The data shows that by already by the end of May, the pandemic had led to US$320 billion in lost revenues, already three times the cost of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis.

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