One in every five destinations’ borders remains entirely closed as the new COVID-19 Omicron variant outbreak wreaks havoc on the resumption of international tourism.
According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Travel Restrictions Report, 98% of all destinations still have some travel restrictions in place.
The Report notes that 46 countries (21% of all destinations globally) have closed their borders to tourists, 26 of these have had their borders entirely closed since at least the end of April last year.
A further 55 (25% of all global destinations) have partially closed their borders to international tourism. In contrast, 112 (52% of all destinations) demand international travellers to submit a PCR or antigen test upon arrival.
The study also demonstrates how places are opening to vaccinated overseas tourists: 85 destinations have relaxed restrictions for fully vaccinated international tourists, while 20 have made a fully COVID-19 vaccination required for entry into a country for tourism purposes.
However, only four destinations have entirely abolished all COVID-19-related restrictions (Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico).
Commenting on the findings, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili stated “the safe relaxation or removing of travel restrictions is important for the relaunch of tourism and the return of the social and economic benefits the sector delivers.
“The shift towards evidence-based measures to restrictions, which reflects the evolving nature of the pandemic, will also help rebuild confidence in travel while keeping both tourists and tourism employees safe.”
Like earlier editions of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report research, this current report demonstrates that regional differences in travel restrictions remain.
Asia and the Pacific continue to have the most restrictions, with 66% of all destinations entirely closed.
In comparison, Europe is the most open international region to international tourists (only 7% of borders are entirely blocked), followed by Africa (9%), the Americas (10%), and the Middle East (15%).
Image: China's Great Wall. Credit: Nicolas Perrault III.
11th January 2022 - Tourism Training Australia convenes summit to address critical state of Australia’s tourism workforce
30th December 2021 - United Nations study outlines route to creating a more sustainable mountain tourism model for people and the planet
27th December 2021 - Global tourism leaders, scholars and entrepreneurs focus on recovery via virtual conference
7th December 2021 - Potential spread of Omicron variant of global concern
3rd December 2021 - WTTC identifies digital solutions to help governments restore international mobility
21st November 2021 - WTTC report reveals tourism industry in Asia Pacific region set to recover by nearly 40%
10th November 2021 - WTTC launches Net Zero Roadmap to guide global tourism
8th October 2021 - Thailand set to introduce controversial ‘tourism fee’ in 2022
4th October 2021 - Air New Zealand introduces ‘no jab, no fly’ policy for overseas travellers
18th August 2021 - Airline travellers demand unified global COVID-19 travel passes
30th June 2021 - United Nations report says COVID-19 impact on tourism could deal $4 trillion blow to global economy
15th June 2021 - Tripadvisor research reveals COVID-19 vaccines driving global tourism demand
30th April 2021 - United Nations passes first ever Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention
28th March 2021 - PATA releases growth scenarios forecast for Asia Pacific destinations
15th March 2021 - New UNWTO report on global travel restrictions shows slowing of easing measures
20th January 2021 - WTTC predicts over 100 million global tourism jobs could be recovered during 2021
24th December 2020 - UNWTO points to tourism ‘looking forward with determination’
26th August 2020 - United Nations Secretary-General highlights the scale of world tourism’s crisis
13th May 2020 - UNWTO says international tourism faces worst crisis since records began
18th December 2019 - Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition looks to help sector meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals