The latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that the introduction of vaccines and the growing adoption of digital solutions would result in easing of travel restrictions, ie there would be an increase in international mobility in the coming months and even weeks.
As of the beginning of June, as many as 29% of destinations in the world have completely closed borders for international tourism, according to the tenth edition UNWTO Travel Restriction Reports. Of that, more than half have been completely closed to tourists since May 2020 or longer. For comparison, for example, only Albania, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are fully open to tourists, without any restrictions.
Every third, to be exact 34% of destinations are partially closed, and 36% of them request a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, in some cases combined with a quarantine request. The data confirm the trend towards destinations opting for a more careful, nuanced approach to travel restrictions, based on evidence and risk, in light of the evolving epidemiological situation and the emergence of new versions of the virus. In fact, 42% of all destinations have introduced special restrictions for visitors from destinations with worrying variants, from flight suspensions and border closures to mandatory quarantine.
Add to that how most destinations with the strictest measures have some of the lowest vaccination rates. The data also indicate a link between vaccination rate and mitigation of restrictions. For comparison, those destinations that have higher vaccination rates and where countries are able to cooperate on harmonized rules and protocols, such as those in the Schengen area of the European Union, are in a better position to allow the slow return of tourism.
Regional differences in travel restrictions still exist. Thus, only 13% of destinations in Europe are closed. By comparison, 19% of destinations in Africa, 20% in the United States, 31% in the Middle East, and as many as 70% of destinations in the Asia-Pacific region are closed.
Assessing the current requirements for vaccinated passengers, 17% of all destinations in the world specifically mention vaccinated passengers in their regulations. In most cases, travel restrictions continue to apply to travelers who have received two doses of an approved vaccine, although all restrictions are lifted in other countries.
The report indicates that the relaunch of global tourism will be slower as long as governments advise caution. Namely, four of the ten main markets, which in 2018 generated 25% of all international arrivals, advise their citizens not to go on unimportant trips abroad.
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