As tourism slowly restarts in a growing number of countries, UNWTO is
emphasising the need to restart tourism in a responsible way, while
reiterating its call for governments and international bodies to support
a sector that has become a lifeline for many millions and a backbone of
After several months of unprecedented disruption, the UNWTO World
Tourism Barometer reports that the sector is beginning to restart in
some areas, most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations. At the
same time, restrictions on travel remain in place in a majority of
global destinations, and tourism remains one of the worst affected of
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The sudden and
massive fall in tourist numbers threatens jobs and economies. It is
vital, therefore, that the restart of tourism is made a priority and
managed responsibly, protecting the most vulnerable and with health and
safety as a the sector’s number one concern. Until tourism’s restart is
underway everywhere, UNWTO again calls for strong support for the sector
in order to protect jobs and businesses."
While April was traditionally one of the busiest times of the year
due to the Easter holidays, the near-universal introduction of travel
restrictions led to a fall of 97% in international tourist arrivals.
This followed a 55% decline in March. Between January and April 2020,
international tourist arrivals declined by 44%, translating into a loss
of about US$195 billion in international tourism receipts.
At the regional level, Asia Pacific was the first to be hit by the
pandemic and the worst hit between January and April, with arrivals down
51% in that period. Europe recorded the second-largest fall, with a 44%
drop for the same period, followed by the Middle East (-40%), the
Americas (-36%) and Africa (-35%).
UNWTO had earlier outlined three possible scenarios for the tourism
sector in 2020, with potential declines in overall international tourist
numbers expected to vary between 58% and 78%, depending on when travel
restrictions are lifted.
Since mid-May, UNWTO has identified an increase in the number of destinations announcing measures to restart tourism.
The gradual lifting of restrictions in some countries, together with
the creation of travel corridors, the resumption of some international
flights and enhanced safety and hygiene protocols, are among the
measures being introduced by governments as they look to restart