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UNWTO: 115 Destinations Have Eased Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

A total of 115 destinations around the world have eased travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, marking an increase of 28 since July 19, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said on Thursday.

The number, which represents 53 percent of all destinations worldwide, was uncovered following research carried out by the UNWTO after analysing restrictions up to September 1.

According to the seventh edition of the UNWTO “COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism”, of the 115 destinations, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.

The UNWTO underlines that the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of tourism can be confirmed according to the research, although many destinations remain cautious in view of the development of the pandemic.

For the first time, the UNWTO’s report includes key data on the health and hygiene infrastructure in place at destinations, while also analysing rate of notifications of new Covid-19 cases. This allows the UNWTO to determine the factors that are influencing destinations’ decisions to ease restrictions.

Notably, the report shows:

  • Destinations which have eased travel restrictions generally have high or very high levels of health and hygiene infrastructure. They also tend to have comparatively low Covid-19 infection rates.
  • Within advanced economies, 79 percent of tourism destinations have already eased restrictions. In emerging economies, just 47 percent of destinations have done so.
  • 64 percent of those destinations which have eased have a high or medium dependence on air as a mode of transport for international tourism arrivals.

At the same time, the report shows that many destinations around the world are extremely cautious about easing travel restrictions they introduced in response to the pandemic and some have passed severe measures in an attempt to keep their citizens safe.

Borders of 93 destinations still closed

Ninety-three destinations (43 percent of all worldwide destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to tourism, of which 27 have had their borders completely closed for at least 30 weeks.

Furthermore, more than half of all destinations with borders completely closed to tourism are classified as being among the World’s Most Vulnerable Countries. They include 10 SIDS (Small Island Developing States), one Least Developed Country (LDC) and three Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

According to the UNWTO, more than half of destinations with full restrictions still in place are also highly dependent on aviation, with at least 70 percent of their tourist arrivals coming by air, causing significant connectivity impacts for their citizens and economies.

The full UNWTO COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions report can be found here.

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