World Tourism Organization reveals that 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place. Picture: Pexels.
World Tourism Organization reveals that 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place. Picture: Pexels.

World tourism remains at standstill as 100% of countries impose travel restrictions

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 11, 2020

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New research from the World Tourism Organisation reveals 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place, and 72% have completely closed their borders to international tourism. 

From the start of the crisis, the United Nations specialised agency for tourism has been tracking responses to the pandemic. This latest research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are under way, 100% of destinations worldwide still have Covid-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in the place.  

Out of 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72%) have placed a complete stop on international tourism according to the data collected as of April 27, 2020. In 25% of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago.

The research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions. UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said that tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries, lockdown and people stay at home. 

"UNWTO calls on governments to work together to co-ordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development," said Pololikashvili.

The UNWTO research tracks measures taken since the end of January when the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 

Breaking the research down by region, UNWTO has found that 83% of destinations in Europe has introduced complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80% in Asia and the Pacific it is 70%, in the Middle East it is 62% and in Africa, it is 57%. 

UNWTO has been working closely with international organisations, national governments, and the private sector, to support the responsible and timely recovery of tourism. 

Within the past two weeks, Pololikashvili has addressed ministers of the G20 and the EU Commission, making the case for tourism to be made a priority as countries look to recover from the crisis. Only time will tell what impact this will have on the global tourism industry. 

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