COVID-19 has put everyone in a situation of blockade, with new research from the World Tourism Organization showing that 100% of global destinations continue to have travel restrictions, and 72% have completely closed their borders to international tourism.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the United Nations specialized tourism agency has been tracking responses to the pandemic. This latest research shows that although discussions about possible first steps to lift the restrictions are underway, 100% of destinations worldwide still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists.
Of the 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72%) have completely stopped international tourism according to data collected as of April 27, 2020. In 25% of destinations, the restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago. Most importantly, the investigation also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.
Opening the world to tourism will again save jobs, protect livelihoods and allow our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism has been the hardest hit of all major sectors as countries close and people stay home. UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the relief and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is considered safe to do so. Tourism is a lifesaver for millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world to tourism will save jobs, protect livelihoods, and allow our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development. ”
Common restrictions in all regions of the world
The UNWTO investigation traces the measures taken since the end of January, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Breaking down the research by region, UNWTO has found that 83% of destinations in Europe have introduced the complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion is 80%, in Asia and the Pacific it is 70%, in the Middle East it is 62% and in Africa it is 57%.
Towards a responsible reopening
UNWTO has been working closely with international organizations, national governments and the private sector to support the responsible and timely recovery of tourism. In the past two weeks, the UNWTO Secretary-General has addressed the G20 and EU Commission Ministers, making tourism a priority as countries seek to recover from the crisis.