More specifically, the UNWTO is forecasting international tourist arrivals returning to pre-pandemic levels in Europe and the Middle East.
At the same time, it expects travelers to seek value for money, travel closer to home, and make shorter trips in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
For 2023, the UNWTO is forecasting international tourist arrivals to reach 80-95 percent of pre-Covid levels. Risks such as the economic slowdown, resumption of travel in Asia and the Pacific, and the Russia-Ukraine war may impact recovery.
Leading the way, Europe recouped nearly 80 percent of 2019 levels welcoming 585 million arrivals in 2022. Robust performance is set to continue for European destinations driven by increasing demand from the US and a strong dollar.
Globally, the UNWTO sees all regions bouncing back despite the challenges. In 2022, more than 900 million tourists traveled internationally, double the number recorded in 2021 but still recovering only 63 percent of 2019 levels.
All regions saw international tourist numbers and travel receipts rise with the Middle East marking the strongest increase to 83 percent of 2019 figures.
The opening to travel of China, the world’s largest outbound market in 2019, is expected to boost figures.
“A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector. Economic factors may influence how people travel in 2023 and the UNWTO expects demand for domestic and regional travel to remain strong and help drive the sector’s wider recovery,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.