Global Tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels according to latest UNWTO report

New data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has shown that global tourism rebound is fast nearing pre-COVID levels.

The data showed that travel numbers in the first quarter of 2022 doubled in the first quarter of 2023, and an estimated 235 million tourists made international trips in the first three months of 2023 — an 80% increase from before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, 960 million people traveled out of their countries in 2022, which was a 66% boost from pre-pandemic numbers.

This boost in figures, according to the UNWTO, is a testament to the resilience of the global tourism industry.

From the UNWTO’s report, The Middle East recovered the quickest and the fastest, with a 15% increase in its 2019 arrival figures.

While Europe attained a 90% return to pre-COVID tourism levels, largely due to increased intra-regional demand, Africa and the Americas rebounded by 88% and 85% respectively.

Asia and the Pacific experienced a 54% recovery rate to pre-COVID levels. This, according to the UNWTO, is projected to increase being that most Asian tourist destinations like China have reopened their borders.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili commented in the report, saying, “The start of the year has shown again tourism’s unique ability to bounce back. In many places, we are close to or even above pre-pandemic levels of arrivals.

“However, we must remain alert to challenges ranging from geopolitical insecurity, staffing shortages, and the potential impact of the cost-of-living crisis on tourism, and we must ensure tourism’s return delivers on its responsibilities as a solution to the climate emergency and as a driver of inclusive development.”

The UNWTO’s report also revealed that international tourism revenue peaked at $1 trillion in 2022, an increase of 50% in real terms compared to 2021. Global visitor spending also experienced a 64% growth from pre-COVID levels.

These increases, the report noted, have been driven by the rebound in international travel.

Similar Read: UNWTO Pledges to put women at the Center of the global tourism industry

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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