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Global Destinations Cautiously Easing Covid-19 Travel Restrictions, Says Report

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

Three percent of all global destinations have taken steps to ease travel restrictions introduced in response to Covid-19, according to new research released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The fourth edition of the UNWTO’s COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism report, focuses on the measures of 217 destinations worldwide as of May 18.

According to the report, 7 destinations – Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, South Sudan, Tanzania and Tunisia – have eased travel restrictions for international tourism purposes. At the same time, several more destinations are engaged in significant discussions about the reopening of borders.

The release of the research coincides with the UNWTO’s recently announced Global Guidelines to Reopen Tourism, which outline the steps governments and the private sector can take to accelerate recovery in the months ahead.

“The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way. This will contribute to the livelihoods of many millions of people around the world. The sector is a driver of sustainable development and a pillar of economies. UNWTO stresses the need for vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation as the world slowly opens up again.” – UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili

Caution remains

The report notes that 100 percent of all destinations worldwide continue to have some form of coronavirus-related travel restrictions in place. Furthermore, as of 18 May, 75 percent continued to have their borders completely closed for international tourism. In 37 percent of all cases, travel restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 percent of global destinations have had restrictions in place for 14 weeks or more.

Tourism-Dependent States Locked Down

Looking into global travel restrictions more closely, the UNWTO research shows that, the more important tourism is to the economies of individual destinations, the more likely they are to have introduced complete border closures. In the case of SIDS destinations (Small Island Developing States), 85 percent continue to have their borders completely closed for tourism purposes.

All UNWTO regions have more than 65 percent of their destinations completely closed to tourism: Africa (74 percent), Americas (86 percent), Asia and the Pacific (67 percent), Europe (74 percent) and the Middle East (69 percent).

The COVID-19-Related Travel Restrictions report also breaks down the level and type of travel restrictions in place, including prevalence of flight suspensions and measures including compulsory self-isolation and quarantine of tourist arrivals.

The UNWTO’s report can be downloaded below:

COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism

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