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Tags: Coronavirus | United Nations | tourism | pandemic | global | united nations | travel

UN Report: International Tourism Revenue Grew in 2021 but Threats Persist

tourists look out from empire state building
Visitors look at the view from the Empire State Building's 86th floor on Nov. 9, 2021, in New York, New York. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 December 2021 12:01 PM

Global travel grew modestly this year after a sharp decline in the first year of the pandemic. Tourism was the sector of the economy most impacted by COVID-19.

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates 2021 global tourism revenue will total $1.9 trillion, an increase from 2020's low of $1.6 trillion, according to Axios.

However, before the pandemic, 2019's global tourism revenue amounted to $3.5 trillion, or 4% of world GDP.

The decrease in tourism was responsible for 70% of the total drop in world GDP last year and the pandemic will likely cost the global tourism sector $2 trillion in lost revenue in 2021, according to an analysis by the UNWTO.

Some regions of the world were more affected than others. Travel to Asia and the Pacific fell by as much as 95% when compared with 2019, as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel. 

The Caribbean did the best of any of the subregions defined by the UNWTO, with arrivals up 55% in 2021 compared to 2020.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said that data for the third quarter of 2021 was "encouraging."

International tourist arrivals "rebounded" during the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere owing to increased travel confidence, rapid vaccinations, and the easing of entry restrictions in many nations.

But Pololikashvili noted that arrivals were still 76% below pre-pandemic levels "and results across the different global regions remain uneven."

The United States permitted European travelers to come back, starting in November 2021. But the spread of variants such as delta and now omicron are extremely challenging for the industry. Europe, Israel, and the United States have just slapped travel bans on arrivals from Southern Africa due to omicron.

Pololikashvili noted that with cases rising and the emergence of new variants, there needed to be continued "efforts to ensure equal access to vaccinations, coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility, and continue to support the sector."

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Global travel grew modestly this year after a sharp decline in the first year of the pandemic. Tourism was the sector of the economy most impacted by COVID-19. The UN World Tourism Organization estimates 2021...
tourism, pandemic, global, united nations, travel
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2021-01-01
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 12:01 PM
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