Since the start of the COVID-19 health crisis in January, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO — the United Nations’ specialized agency for tourism) has been tracking the measures taken in every country in response to the pandemic. Their latest report, released on May 11, shows bleak — but not surprising — figures. Here they are, broken down:
- 100% of destinations all over the world still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists.
- Out of the 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72%) countries have placed a complete stop on international tourism.
- In 25% of these destinations, the restrictions have been in place for at least three months.
- In 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago.
- No destination has lifted or eased international travel restrictions so far.
What does this mean for travelers?
It’s clear now that it will take quite some time before we can all travel as we used to. In April, Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Puyat said that international travel might not be possible within 2020, and that it would be better to plan for domestic travels in the meantime.
Travel and tourism has been the hardest hit industry in this crisis, which is why the UNWTO is calling on governments to coordinate so that restrictions are lifted in a timely and responsible manner. “Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in their report. “Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”
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