EconomyFinancialWorld tourism closed 72% below pre-pandemic levels in 2021

World tourism closed 72% below pre-pandemic levels in 2021

World tourism had a recovery in 2021 compared to 2020, but it still has a long way to go to reach the levels it registered before the COVID-19 pandemic. With a 72% drop in the international flow of travelers, the sector is still 1 billion tourists away from recovering, and the environment for 2022 looks similar to last year.

According to the Barometer of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), in 2021 the movement of 415 million tourists was registered, 4% higher than the 400 million of 2020, which remains the worst year in the history of the industry, with a drop of 73% and a loss of 1,100 million travelers. For December, this drop was 65%, but the effect that the omicron variant will have on the sector remains to be seen.

“The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions, due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence,” UNWTO said in a press release. . “Europe and the Americas recorded the best results in 2021 compared to 2020 (+19% and +17% respectively), but both are still 63% below pre-pandemic levels.”

By subregions, the Caribbean countries had the greatest recovery, with 63% more travelers than in 2020, which places them 37% below the levels of 2019. Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific region remains the most pressured , with a drop of 94% compared to 2020.

However, tourist spending registered an average of 1,500 dollars per traveler, a growth of 15% compared to the average of 1,300 dollars seen in 2020. This is due to the accumulated savings that certain tourist segments had, coupled with a longer duration stays, in addition to a rise in the prices of transport and accommodation services.

“The economic contribution of tourism in 2021 is estimated at US$1.9 billion, up from US$1.6 billion in 2020, but still well below the pre-pandemic value of US$3.5 billion,” UNWTO said in the document.

For this year, the perspectives by region vary. While the majority of a sample of experts consulted by the UNWTO in Asia-Pacific and Oceania expect a worse year than 2021, in Europe and America the majority foresee a better performance.

As for a recovery to pre-pandemic levels in international tourism, most experts in all regions expect it to last as long as 2024, and even beyond.

“The UNWTO scenarios indicate that international tourist arrivals could grow between 30% and 78% compared to 2021. However, these are percentages that are still 50% and 63% below pre-2021 levels. the pandemic,” the agency said.

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