Inside Approximately 250 million visitors came in the first five months of the year. international travelers all over the worldThat’s more than triple what it was in the same period in 2021, implying that the tourism industry has recovered almost half of pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Europe During the month of May, it quadrupled its international passengers.
International tourism continues to show strong and strong signs. stable recovery after the impact of the pandemicdespite significant and growing economic and geopolitical challenges.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism experienced a strong recovery in the first five months of 2022with nearly 250 million registered international arrivals.
This figure means that the industry has recovered almost half (46%) of its pre-pandemic 2019 level, compared to the 77 million arrivals recorded between January and May 2021.
“The revival of tourism accelerated in many parts of the worldUNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said that what is left of 2022 needs to be careful in the face of economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges that may affect the industry. after that”.
Europe and America lead recovery
Europe more than quadrupled international arrivals compared to the first five months of 2021 (+350%) due to strong domestic demand and the lifting of all travel restrictions in a growing number of countries.
The region showed strong results in April (+458%), reflecting a particularly busy Easter period. Arrivals to America more than doubled (+112). However, strong rebound is measured against weak 2021 results, with arrivals generally 36% and 40% below 2019 levels, respectively.
The same pattern is observed in other regions as well. Despite strong growth in the Middle East (+157%) and Africa (+156%), figures are still 54% and 50% lower than in 2019, and nearly double in Asia and the Pacific, although some limits Numbers are 90% lower than in 2019, as non-essential travel remains closed. The recent easing of restrictions can be seen in the improved results for April and May.
As for the sub-regions, some recovered between 70% and 80% of their pre-pandemic levels, mainly in the Caribbean and Central America, followed by Southern Mediterranean Europe and Western and Northern Europe. UNWTO highlights that some destinations exceeded 2019 levels, such as the US Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Republic of Moldova, Albania, Honduras and Puerto Rico.
Tourist spending on the rise
The increase in tourism expenditures in the main source markets is in line with the recovery observed. According to UNWTO, international spending by tourists from France, Germany, Italy and the US is currently between 70% and 85% of pre-pandemic levels, while spending by India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar has already surpassed 2019 levels.
In terms of international tourism revenues earned in destinations, an increasing number of countries (Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Seychelles, Romania, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Pakistan, Sudan, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Mexico, Croatia) and Portugal fully recovered to its pre-existing levels.
Strong demand during the northern hemisphere summer season is expected to reinforce these positive results, especially as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions. At the end of July, there were no restrictions on flights to a total of 62 destinations, 39 of which were in Europe. With COVID-19 and a growing number of destinations in Asia, they are starting to reassure themselves.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the global reduction in international air capacity in 2022 will be limited to 20% or 25% of seats offered by airlines compared to 2019. The flexibility of the sector is also reflected in hotel occupancy. Rates that rose to 66% in June.
But the UNWTO warns that “stronger-than-expected demand poses significant workforce and operational challenges, while the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates, and fears of an economic slowdown continue to pose risks to the recovery.”
UNWTO forward-looking scenarios, published in May 2022, indicate that international arrivals have reached 55% to 70% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
Outcomes depend on changing conditions, particularly changes in travel restrictions, current inflation and general economic conditions, including high energy prices, developments in the war in Ukraine, and health status related to the pandemic.
Other more recent issues such as staff shortages, severe airport congestion and flight delays and cancellations could also impact international tourism numbers, according to UNWTO.
Regional scenarios show that Europe and the Americas record the best tourism results in 2022, while the Asia-Pacific region is expected to lag behind due to more restrictive travel policies. International tourist arrivals in Europe may reach 65% or 80% of those registered in 2019 in 2022, depending on various conditions, while in the Americas it may be between 63% and 76% of these levels.
In Africa and the Middle East, arrivals could reach 50 to 70% of pre-pandemic levelsAsia and the Pacific will remain at 30% of 2019 levels at best due to stricter policies and restrictions.