UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer monitors short-term tourism trends on a regular basis to provide global tourism stakeholders with up-to-date analysis on international tourism.
The report is published four times a year and includes an analysis of the latest data on tourism destinations (inbound tourism) and source markets (outbound tourism). The Barometer also includes a Confidence Index based on the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts survey, which provides an evaluation of recent performance and short-term prospects on international tourism.
UNWTO Member States, Associate Members and Affiliate Members receive the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer as a part of member's service.
International tourist arrivals dropped by 40% in January-July 2021 compared to the same period of 2020. Yet, this was still 80% below the levels of pre-pandemic year 2019. After a weak start of the year, international tourism saw a modest improvement during the months of June and July 2021.
VACCINES AND REOPEN BORDERS DRIVING TOURISM’S RECOVERY
- International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) in the first seven months of 2021 were 40% below the levels of 2020, and still 80% down when compared to the same period of pre-pandemic year 2019.
- After a weak start of the year, international tourism saw a modest improvement during the months of June and July 2021, especially in Europe.
- The small improvement in June and July was underpinned by the reopening of many destinations to international travel, mostly in Europe and the Americas. The relaxation of travel restrictions to vaccinated travellers, coupled with progress made in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, contributed to ease travel restrictions, lift consumer confidence and gradually restore safe mobility in Europe and other parts of the world.
- Small islands in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific, together with a few small European destinations recorded the best performance in June and July, with arrivals coming close to, or sometimes exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
- July (-67%) saw comparatively better performance than June (-77%), making it the best month so far since April 2020.
- Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the weakest results in January-July 2021, with a 95% drop in international arrivals compared to the same period in 2019. The Middle East (-82%) recorded the second largest decline, followed by Europe and Africa (both -77%). The Americas (-68%) saw a comparatively smaller decrease.
- By subregions, the Caribbean (-52% over 2019) recorded the best relative performance in January-July 2021. Growing travel from the United States has benefitted destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as Mexico. The Caribbean (+11%) as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+1%) were the only subregions to record growth in Jan-July 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
- Although destinations continued to report very weak international tourism revenues in the first seven months of 2021, several countries recorded a modest improvement in the months of June and July, and some even surpassed the earnings of 2019. Among the larger destinations, Mexico earned roughly the same tourism receipts in June 2021 as in 2019, and in July posted a 3% increase over 2019.
- Among the larger source markets, France (-35% over 2019) and the United States (-49%) saw a small rebound in July.
- Despite the relative improvement over the low levels of 2020, international tourism remained well below 2019 levels. This is also reflected in the evaluation made by the UNWTO Panel of Experts in the September survey, showing mixed results for the period May-August 2021.
- Looking ahead, most experts continue to expect a rebound in 2022, driven by unleashed pent-up demand, mostly during the second and third quarter of that year. Nearly one-third of respondents expect a potential rebound in 2023. Almost half of all experts continue to see a return of international arrivals to 2019 levels in 2024 or later.