The scale of disruption caused by COVID-19 to global tourism is shown in a comprehensive new report on travel restrictions from the World Tourism Organization.
The landmark report, published at a time of unprecedented disruption for the sector, shows that almost all global destinations have imposed restrictions on travel since January, including complete bans on all travel as they work to contain the pandemic.
Over recent years, as the United Nations specialized agency for tourism, UNWTO has been regularly monitoring travel facilitation and observing a continuous trend towards more openness.
COVID-19 has dramatically interrupted this.
According to research carried out for the new report, as of April 6th, 96 percent of all worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.
Around 90 destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists, while a further 44 are closed to certain tourists depending on the country of origin.
UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “COVID-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before in history.
“Governments have put public health first and introduced full or partial restrictions on travel.
“With tourism suspended, the benefits the sector brings are under threat: millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back.
“The UNWTO, therefore, calls on governments to continuously review travel restrictions and ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The UNWTO global review shows that the global regions are largely consistent in their response to COVID-19.
In Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, 100 percent of destinations have adopted COVID-19-related restrictions since January.
In the Americas, 92 percent of destinations have taken similar steps, while in Europe, the proportion is 93 percent.