Tourism

70% of Destinations Have Lifted Travel Restrictions: UNWTO

Palace of Charles V, Granada, Spain

Palace of Charles V, Granada, Spain

The 8th edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report notes a continued decrease in restrictions as far as tourism is conserned, it says that 70% of all global destinations have eased restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As per the report just one in four destinations continue to keep their borders completely closed to international tourists.

Launched by the World Tourism Organization at the start of the pandemic, the Travel Restrictions Report keeps track of measures being taken in 217 destinations worldwide, helping to support the mitigation and recovery efforts of the tourism sector. 

For this latest edition, the methodology has been updated to offer insights into the tourism flows of destinations, as well as to explore the link between health and hygiene infrastructure, environmental performance and any potential connection to travel restrictions.

The Report shows that, as of  November 1, a total of 152 destinations have eased restrictions on international tourism, up from the 115 recorded on 1 September. At the same time, 59 destinations have kept their borders closed to tourists, a decrease of 34 over the same two-month period.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The lifting of travel restrictions is essential to drive our wider recovery from the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. Governments have an important part to play in giving data-led and responsible travel advice and in working together to lift restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Who eased restrictions faster?

The study found that destinations with higher scores in health and hygiene indicators as well as on the environmental performance index are among those which have eased restrictions faster. 
In comparison, destinations choosing to keep their borders closed tend to be within emerging economies with relatively low scores in health and hygiene indicators and environmental performance index. The majority of these destinations are in Asia and the Pacific, with many belonging to the SIDS (Small Island Developing States), LDCs (Least Developed Countries) or LLDCs (Landlocked Developing Countries).

Mountains of New Zealand

Europe continues to lead the way in lifting or easing travel restrictions followed by the Americas, Africa and then the Middle East. Meanwhile, Asia and the Pacific continues to be the region with the most amount of travel restrictions still in place and more complete border closures  for international tourism.

Looking ahead, the report highlights the important role governments can play in restarting tourism. Out of the ten biggest tourism source markets, four (representing 19% of all outbound trips in 2018) have issued guidance advising against all non-essential international travel. The other six (representing 30% of all outbound trips in 2018), however, have issued more nuanced travel advisories, basing their guidance on evidence-based risk assessments. 

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