Global tourism suffered the worst tourist year, in which international arrivals fell by 74%.
Destinations around the world had a billion fewer international arrivals in 2020 than the previous year, according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the collapse of international travel represents an estimated loss of export revenue of $ 1,3 trillion, or 11 times the loss compared to the 2009 global economic crisis.
The crisis has jeopardized between 100 and 120 million direct tourism businesses, many of which are in small and medium-sized enterprises. Many countries are reintroducing stricter travel restrictions, including mandatory testing, quarantine and, in some cases, complete closure of borders. But the UNWTO expects that the gradual introduction of COVID-19 will help restore consumer confidence and help ease travel restrictions, the first step towards normalizing travel during the year ahead.
UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili he said much has been done to enable safe international travel, but that they are aware that the crisis is not over yet. "Coordinating, coordinating and digitizing measures, reducing the risks associated with COVID-19 travel, including testing and vaccination certificates, are important foundations for promoting safe travel and preparing for the recovery of tourism when conditions allow."
When it comes to this year, the prospects for recovery are still cautious. The latest survey by the UNWTO Expert Committee shows different projections for 2021. Almost half of the respondents (45%) predict better prospects for 2021 compared to last year, 25% expect similar results, and 30% predict a worsening of results in 2021.
The overall prospects for a 2021 return have worsened
Half or 50% of respondents now expect a recovery to occur only in 2022, which compared to the last survey in October 2020, an increase of 29% (21% of them expected a recovery only in 2022). The remaining half of respondents still see a potential recovery in 2021, although below the expectations presented in the October 2020 survey (79% expected a recovery in 2021).
As and when tourism restarts, the UNWTO Expert Committee anticipates a growing demand for outdoor and outdoor tourism activities, and domestic tourism and “slow travel” experiences are gaining increasing interest.
Most experts do not see a return to pre - pandemic levels before 2023.
In fact, 43% of respondents point to 2023, while 41% expect a return to the 2019 level to happen only in 2024 or later. Extended UNWTO scenarios for the period 2021-2024 indicate that it could take two and a half to four years for international tourism to return to 2019 levels.
Personally, I consider these projections to be very optimistic, but that is still a long way off. It is necessary to survive until then, and first of all start global tourism so that we can start talking about survival and saving the tourism sector, and only from 2022 on the beginning of recovery. If, of course, the epidemiological situation is stable.