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UNWTO: 96% of Global Destinations Impose Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

Covid-19 has dramatically interrupted travel facilitation, openness – UNWTO

Ninety-six percent of all worldwide destinations, as of 6 April, have introduced travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said on Friday.

Research carried out for a new UNWTO report shows that around 90 destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists, while a further 44 are closed to certain tourists depending on country of origin.

“Over recent years, as the United Nations specialized agency for tourism, UNWTO has been regularly monitoring travel facilitation and observing a continuous trend towards more openness. Covid-19 has dramatically interrupted this,” the UNWTO noted.

The report, published at a time of unprecedented disruption for the sector, shows that almost all global destinations have imposed restrictions on travel since January 2020, including complete bans on all travel as they work to contain the pandemic.

‘Millions of jobs could be lost’

“COVID-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before in history… With tourism suspended, the benefits the sector brings are under threat: millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

The UNWTO global review shows that the global regions are largely consistent in their response to the coronavirus. In Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, 100 percent of destinations have adopted coronavirus-related restrictions since January 2020. In the Americas, 92 percent of destinations have taken similar steps, while in Europe, the proportion is 93 percent (as of 6 April).

The analysis identifies four key types of restrictive measures, namely:

– Complete or partial closure of borders to tourists;
– Destination-specific travel restrictions (“Passengers who have transited or been in x are not allowed to enter x”);
– The total or partial suspension of flights;
– Different measures, including requirements for quarantine or self-isolation, medical certificates, invalidation or suspension of visa issuances etc.

According to the report, as of 6 April 2020, no destination has lifted a travel restriction introduced in the context of Covid-19.

“UNWTO therefore calls on governments to continuously review travel restrictions and ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so,” Pololikashvili said.

To see the UNWTO’s report on “Covid-19 related travel restrictions – a global review for tourism”, press here.

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