Monday, 29 November 2021

Global Tourism Up in Q3 But Recovery Still Fragile

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - Croatia, Mexico, and Turkey were the closest to achieving their tourism results of 2019 among the larger destinations in the world, which saw an increase of 58% in international tourist arrivals in July-September 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, which indicates a certain but still fragile recovery, the latest data from UNWTO shows.

Noting that the pandemic is hampering recovery and the pace of recovery remains slow and uneven due to unbalanced vaccination rates and new variants of the contagion emerging, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on Monday released its latest barometer of international tourist arrivals in Q3, 2021, noting that the results were encouraging but still 64% below 2019 levels and that there were imbalances between world regions.

"In light of the rising cases and the emergence of new variants, we cannot let our guard down and need to continue our efforts to ensure equal access to vaccinations,  coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility, and continue to support the sector," UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil said.

Europe and Mediterranean best performers

Europe recorded the best relative performance in the third quarter, with international arrivals 53% down on the same three-month period of 2019. In August and September, arrivals were at -63% compared to 2019, the best monthly results since the start of the pandemic.

Southern and Mediterranean Europe saw its best performance in Q3 2021, according to available data, with arrivals coming close to, or sometimes exceeding, pre-pandemic levels.  Croatia (-19%), Mexico (-20%), and Turkey (-35%) posted the best results in July-September 2021, according to the information currently available.

The uplift in demand was driven by increased traveler confidence amid rapid progress on vaccinations and the easing of entry restrictions in many destinations. In Europe, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, releasing significant pent-up demand after many months of restricted travel.

However, in other regions recovery was uneven due to uneven vaccination rates.

Gradual improvement in revenue in all of 2021, similar to 2020 results

UNWTO notes that revenues from international tourism receipts show a similar improvement in Q3 2021. Mexico recorded the same earnings as in 2019, while Turkey (-20%), France (-27%), and Germany (-37%) posted comparatively smaller declines from earlier in the year.

According to the latest UNWTO data, international tourist arrivals are expected to remain 70% to 75% below 2019 levels in 2021, a similar decline as in 2020.

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