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A fifth of the world’s destinations remain off limits to tourism

A fifth of the world’s destinations remain off limits to tourism
January 12, 2022

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%).

Joe Cusmano

Image: China's Great Wall. Credit: Nicolas Perrault III.

About the author

Joe Cusmano

An experinced airline and travel industry professional, Joe has over 25 years international airline sales experience of which 18 have been in senior positions in Australia, North Africa and Europe, Middle East and Thailand.

Committed to sharing news and personal experiences, he explains that, post-COVID, "once I resume travelling with people that like me are nomads by nature and love to travel, (I will) provide you with as much advice and tips to make your travel experience a memorable one."

Click here to visit his website.

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