In addition to travel limitations, of the 217 destinations around the world, a total of 156 have completely stopped international tourism, according to the United Nations agency specializing in the sector, which states that this has been the hardest struck by the Covid-19 crisis and advocates the lifting of restrictions, at the right time and in a responsible manner.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the World Tourism Organization has analyzed the consequences of this pandemic. Their latest report shows that, while the debate on the first steps that could be taken to lift the restrictions continues, 100% of destinations around the world still maintain travel restrictions for international tourists due to COVID-19.
According to data collected up to April 27, of the 217 destinations around the world, a total of 156, 72%, had completely stopped international tourism, imposing the total closure of air, sea and land borders. Generally, some exemptions were made for nationals, residents, travelers, diplomats, and essential travel. Another ten destinations have their borders partially closed.
In 25% of destinations, the restrictions had been in place for at least three months, while in 40%, the restrictions began at least two months ago.
Among the most significant data of the study is that, as of April 27, no destination had lifted or eased up travel restrictions.
“Tourism has been the sector hardest hit by this crisis because countries close borders and people stay home”, Assured the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, who has called on governments to facilitate the lifting of restrictions, in a coordinated way, at the appropriate time and in a responsible manner, when consider it safe to do so.
Pololikashvili explained that “tourism is the lifeline for millions of people, especially in developing countries ”, so reopening the sector will guarantee jobs, protect livelihoods and allow the tourism industry to“ resume its vital role in promoting sustainable development ”.
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Similar restrictions in all regions of the world
The World Tourism Organization report reflects the measures taken since late January, when COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.
Breaking down the study by region, it is observed that 83% of destinations in Europe have completely closed the borders to international tourism. In the Americas, the percentage is 80%, in Asia and the Pacific 70%, in the Middle East 62% and in Africa 57%.
Towards a responsible reopening
The UN agency works closely with other international organizations, governments and the private sector in order to promote the recovery of tourism in a responsible way in an opportune moment.
In the last two weeks, the head of the Organization has addressed the ministers of the G20 and the Commission of the European Union asking them to bet on tourism as a priority on the agenda of countries as they seek to recover from the crisis.