The agency reviewed measures of 217 destinations worldwide, as of 18 May, and found that 3 per cent of all destinations have taken steps to ease restrictions. Seven destinations have eased restrictions for international tourism purposes, while several more are engaged in discussions on the reopening of borders after months of lockdowns.
Aiports across the world had shut down as part of the travel restrictions
Countries are cautiously starting
to ease travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19,
according to research published by the World Tourism Organization. The details
are published in the fourth edition of the agency’s report series titled COVID-19
Travel Restrictions; A Global Review for Tourism.
The agency reviewed measures of
217 destinations worldwide, as of 18 May, and found that 3 per cent of all
destinations have taken steps to ease restrictions. Seven destinations have
eased restrictions for international tourism purposes, while several more are
engaged in discussions on the reopening of borders after months of lockdowns.
The report notes that 100 per cent of all destinations
worldwide continue to have some COVID-19 travel restrictions in place; 75 per
cent is still completely closed to international tourism. In 37 per cent of all cases, restrictions
have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 per cent have had controls in place
for 14 weeks or more.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
yesterday announced that Entebbe International Airport and other Ugandan borders
will remain closed, even as the country eased lockdown restrictions, allowing a
number of businesses to resume operations after more than 10 weeks of
However, the report observes that
although the gradual lifting of national lockdown and quarantine measures brings
promising signs for international tourism to recover, travel advisories,
limited flight connections, health
concerns, as well as potential travel restrictions upon return, are still making international
travel for tourism purposes very challenging.
The Secretary-General of the
World Tourism Organisation Zurab Pololikashvili stresses "the need for
vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation as the world slowly
opens up again. He says that the timely and responsible easing of travel
restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that
tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way.
The more important tourism is to
individual economies, the more likely it is that countries have responded with
complete border closures. In the case of
Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the report finds that 85 per cent
continue to remain completely closed to tourists.
In all UNWTO regions, more than 65 per cent of their
destinations remain completely closed to tourism: Africa (74 per cent), the Americas (86 per
cent), Asia and the Pacific (67 per cent), Europe (74 per cent) and the Middle
East (69 per cent).
The report follows last week’s
release of Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, aimed at helping the sector
emerge more sustainably from COVID-19. Produced in cooperation with the Global
Tourism Crisis Committee, the guidance highlights the need to act decisively,
to restore confidence and to embrace innovation.
UNWTO warns that international
tourist arrivals could fall between 60 and 80 per cent, depending on when
restrictions are lifted. This could
place 100 to 120 million jobs at risk and potentially lead to USD 910 billion
to USD 1.2 trillion lost in exports.
“These guidelines provide both
Governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to
help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner,”