International tourism on the road to recovery, Europe almost at the pre-pandemic level

International tourism is well on its way to fully recovering in 2024.


1. December 2023.

The latest data from the UNWTO shows that international tourism has almost fully recovered from the crisis caused by Covid, with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and revenues.

International tourism is on track to recover from almost 90 percent of its pre-pandemic level by the end of this year.

According to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an estimated 2023 million tourists traveled abroad between January and September 975, an increase of 38 percent compared to the same months in 2022.

The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer also shows the following:

  • Global destinations welcomed 22% more international tourists in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, reflecting a strong summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • International tourist arrivals reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, reaching 92% in July, the best month since the start of the pandemic.
  • Overall, tourism recovered by 2023% of pre-pandemic levels between January and September 87. This puts the sector on track to recover almost 90% by the end of the year.
  • International tourism revenue could reach $2023 billion in 1,4, about 93% of the $1,5 billion earned by destinations in 2019.

"The latest UNWTO data shows that international tourism has almost fully recovered from the unprecedented crisis caused by Covid-19, with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and revenues", said the Secretary General of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili, adding that this is crucial for destinations, businesses and communities where tourism is an important branch of the economy.

The Middle East, Europe and Africa lead the way

The Middle East continues to lead the recovery by region in relative terms, with arrivals 20% above pre-pandemic levels in the nine months to September 2023. The Middle East remains the only world region to exceed 2019 levels in this period.

Measures to facilitate the visa regime, the development of new destinations, investments in new projects related to tourism and the holding of major events support these outstanding results.

Europe, the largest destination region in the world, received 550 million international tourists during that period, 56% of the world total. This represents 94% of the pre-pandemic level. The recovery was supported by strong demand within the region as well as strong demand from the United States.

Africa rebounded from 92% of pre-pandemic visitors in this nine-month period, with arrivals to the Americas reaching 88% of 2019 numbers in the same period, as the region benefited from strong demand in the US, particularly for Caribbean destinations.

Asia and the Pacific have reached 62% of pre-pandemic levels due to a slower reopening for international travel. However, the performance among sub-regions is mixed, with South Asia recovering 95% from pre-pandemic levels and the northeast part of the continent only about 50%.

Otherwise, the world tourism barometer includes more focused data on regions, as well as sub-regions and individual destinations.

Strong tourist consumption

Several major source markets reported strong demand for outbound travel in this period, with many exceeding 2019 levels. Germany and the United States spent 13% and 11% more respectively on outbound travel than in the same nine months of 2019, while Italy spent 16% more by August.

The sustained recovery is also reflected in the performance of industrial indicators. Drawing on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and STR, the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker details the strong recovery in air passenger numbers and tourist accommodation occupancy levels.

In this context, international tourism is on track to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2024 despite economic challenges such as high inflation and weaker global manufacturing, as well as important geopolitical tensions and conflicts.

Photo: Istock Free
Source: UNWTO



1. December 2023.