Monday, December 18, 2023: 4Hoteliers

The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer also shows:

  • Global destinations welcomed 22% more international tourists in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, reflecting the strong summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • International tourist arrivals reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, reaching 92% in July, the best month so far since the pandemic began.
  • Overall, tourism recovered 87% of pre-pandemic levels in January-September 2023. This puts the sector on track to recover almost 90% by the end of the year.
  • International tourism revenue could reach US$1.4 trillion in 2023, about 93% of the US$1.5 trillion earned by destinations in 2019.

The latest UNWTO figures show that international tourism has almost fully recovered from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and revenues

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The latest UNWTO figures show that international tourism has almost fully recovered from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and revenues. This is critical for destinations, businesses, and communities where the sector is a major lifeline.”

The Middle East, Europe and Africa are leading the recovery

The Middle East continues to lead the recovery by region in relative terms, with arrivals 20% above pre-pandemic levels in the nine months to September 2023. The Middle East remains the only region in the world to surpass 2019 levels in this period. Visa easing measures, the development of new destinations, investment in new tourism-related projects and the organization of major events contribute to this remarkable performance.

Europe, the world’s largest destination region, welcomed 550 million international tourists during the period, 56% of the world’s total. This represents 94% of pre-pandemic levels. The recovery was supported by strong intra-regional demand as well as strong demand from the United States.

Africa recovered 92% of pre-pandemic visitors in that nine-month period, and arrivals in the Americas reached 88% of 2019 numbers in that period as the region benefited from strong demand in the US, particularly to Caribbean destinations.

Asia and the Pacific reached 62% of pre-pandemic levels during this period due to a slower reopening for international travel. However, results among subregions have been mixed, with South Asia recovering 95% of pre-pandemic levels but Northeast Asia only about 50%.

International tourist arrivals (% change from 2019)

The World Tourism Barometer includes more focused data on regions as well as sub-regions and individual destinations.

Strong spending on tourism

Strong demand for outbound travel was reported by several major source markets during the period, with many exceeding 2019 levels. Germany and the United States spent 13% and 11% more respectively on outbound travel than in the same nine months of 2019, while Italy has spent 16% more through August.

The sustained recovery is also reflected in the performance of industrial indicators. Based on data from IATA (International Air Transport Association) and STR, the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker describes a strong recovery in air passenger numbers and occupancy levels of tourist accommodation.

Against this backdrop, international tourism is on track to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2024 despite economic challenges such as high inflation and weaker global output, as well as important geopolitical tensions and conflicts.

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