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UNWTO: Vaccines, Digital Solutions to Give Travel a Boost

Photo source: UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is forecasting that Covid-19 vaccination campaigns and the integration of digital solutions for safe travel will help ease restrictions allowing for more international mobility in the weeks and months ahead.

According to the United Nations’ Travel Restrictions Report, destinations with higher vaccination rates and territories working together on harmonized rules and protocols like the EU’s Schengen area are “better-placed to allow tourism to slowly return”.

Meanwhile, the restart of global tourism will remain “muted” if governments continue to advise caution, the report said.

Indicatively, four of the 10 top source markets (which generated 25 percent of all international arrivals in 2018) continue to advise against non-essential travel abroad, the report found.

Since June 1, 29 percent of destinations worldwide have their borders completely closed to international tourism with more than half completely closed to tourists for since May 2020 or longer.

Only Albania, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic are completely open to tourists, with no restrictions now in place, said the report.

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

The report’s analysts go on to add that destinations appear to be adopting more evidence-and-risk-based approaches to restrictions on travel, particularly in view of the emergence of new variants.

“Governments are instrumental for the restart and recovery of tourism through collaboration, use of data and digital solutions”, says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Other key takeaways:

-one in three (34 percent) destinations are partially closed and 36 percent request a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival. Some countries also request quarantine

-42 percent of all destinations have introduced specific restrictions for visitors from destinations with variants of concern, including cancellation of flights, closing borders or compulsory quarantine

– regional differences with regards to travel restrictions remain: 70 percent of all destinations in Asia and the Pacific are completely closed compared with just 13 percent in Europe, 20 percent in the Americas, 19 percent in Africa, and 31 percent in the Middle East

-17 percent of global destinations specifically mention vaccinated passengers in their regulations with travel restrictions applying to fully vaccinated passengers.

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