New research from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revealed that 40 per cent of the world has now eased COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The latest research findings, recorded on 19 July by the UNWTO, is up from 22 per cent of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the three per cent previously observed by 15 May.
However, of the 87 destinations that have eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place.
The research also shows that 115 destinations (53 per cent of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.
Destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to be easing restrictions on travel; 20 of the 87 of the destinations that have eased restrictions recently are Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
According to UNWTO, many of these islands depend on tourism as a central pillar of employment, economic growth and development. Around half (41) of all those destinations that have eased restrictions are in Europe.
“The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods,” said UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili.
“As destinations continue to ease restrictions on travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance.
“This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.”
Looking at the 115 destinations that continue to have their borders completely closed to international tourism, the report found that a majority (88) have been completely closed for international tourism for more than 12 weeks.
The UNWTO said in a statement that already by the end of May, the pandemic had led to $450 billion in lost revenues, already three times the cost of the 2009 Global EconomicCrisis.
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