Tourism worldwide is recouping losses incurred by Covid-19, the worst crisis in its history, with arrivals reaching 84 percent of pre-pandemic levels between January and July this year, according to the latest data released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
More specifically, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, tourism demand remained resilient across all markets despite the economic and geopolitical challenges but the sector must now adjust to the new realities.
In the January-July period, 700 million tourists traveled internationally, up by 43 percent compared to the same months in 2022. The busiest tourist month was July with 145 million people traveling worldwide, accounting for 20 percent of the seven-month total.
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa led the sector’s rebound in the seven months to July.
Europe, the world’s largest destination region, recovered 91 percent of pre-Covid levels, supported by robust intra-regional demand and travel from the US.
The Middle East reported the best results, with arrivals 20 percent above pre-pandemic levels, while Africa recouped 92 percent of pre-crisis visitor numbers.
“Tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt. The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
Based on the ongoing travel rate and bookings for September-December, UNWTO analysts expect global international tourism to reach 80-95 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. At the same time, the reopening of China and other Asian markets is expected to boost travel worldwide.
Risks to recovery include high inflation and rising oil prices which have driven transport and accommodation costs higher impacting traveler spending patterns.