The emergence of new variants of Covid-19 has prompted many governments to reverse their efforts to ease travel restrictions, with recent data from the UNWTO showing that one in three destinations worldwide is now completely closed to tourism international.
Total tourist closures are most common in Asia and the Pacific and Europe.
The UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report provides a comprehensive overview of regulations in 217 destinations around the world. While previous editions had shown a move towards relaxing or lifting travel restrictions, the latest report shows that the continuing gravity of the epidemiological situation has prompted governments to take a more cautious approach.
As of early February, 32 percent of all destinations in the world (69 in total) are completely closed to international tourism. Of these, just over half (38 destinations) have been closed for at least 40 weeks. At the same time, 34% of global destinations are now partially closed to international tourists.
UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Polilikashvili said: “Travel restrictions have been widely used to limit the spread of the virus. Now, as we work to revive tourism, we must recognize that restrictions are only part of the solution. Their use must be based on the most recent data and analysis and regularly reviewed in order to allow the safe and responsible restart of a sector on which millions of businesses and jobs depend. “
The ninth edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report shows that regional differences in travel restrictions persist. Of the 69 destinations where borders are completely closed to tourists, 30 are in Asia and the Pacific, 15 in Europe, 11 in Africa, 10 in the Americas and 3 in the Middle East.
At the same time, UNWTO research also indicates a trend to take a more nuanced, evidence-based and risk-based approach to implementing travel restrictions. An increasing number of destinations around the world are now requiring international tourists to present a PCR or negative antigen test upon arrival and also provide their contact details for tracing purposes. Indeed, 32 percent of all global destinations now have the presentation of these tests as their primary requirement for international arrivals often combined with quarantine, while the same number have made testing a secondary or tertiary measure.
The travel restrictions report also shows how different governments are giving advice to their own citizens. Analysis of the top ten tourism source markets currently advising against non-essential overseas travel found that they generated 44% of all international arrivals in 2018. UNWTO notes that advice from governments will play a role. crucial role in restarting and resuming tourism in the country. weeks and months to come.