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 (overnight visitors) dropped by 83% in the period January-March 2021 compared to 2020, as travel restrictions remained high and consumer confidence low due to the coronavirus pandemic
UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Update May 2021
Tourist numbers down 83% but confidence slowly rising
- International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) dropped by 83% in the period January-March 2021 compared to 2020, as travel restrictions remained high and consumer confidence low due to the coronavirus pandemic. This follows an unprecedented drop of 73% in 2020, the worst year on record for international tourism.
- By regions, Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the largest declines with a 94% drop in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2021, compared to 2020. Europe recorded the second largest decline with -83%, followed by Africa (-81%), the Middle East (-78%) and the Americas (-71%).
- International tourism receipts plunged by US$ 930 billion in 2020, an estimated 64% drop in real terms (local currencies, constant prices) due to the slump in global travel. International visitors spent about US$ 536 billion in destinations last year, about one third of the amount spent in 2019 (US$ 1,466 billion).
- Industry confidence is slowly rising for the period May-August 2021 according to the latest survey of the UNWTO Panel of Experts. The pace of the vaccination rollout in some key source markets as well as policies to restart tourism safely, most notably the EU Digital Green Certificate, have boosted hopes for a rebound in some markets.
- However, uncertainty remains high due to the ongoing pandemic and surge of new variants, the travel restrictions still in place and the uneven rollout of vaccines.
- 60% of experts now point to a rebound in 2022, up from 50% in January 2021. The remaining 40% still see a potential rebound in 2021, mostly during the second half of the year, though fewer than in the January survey (50%).
- Nearly half of all experts see a return to 2019 levels in 2024 or later, while the percentage indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 has somewhat decreased (37%) when compared to the January survey (43%).
- Due to weaker-than-expected results in the first quarter of 2021, our scenarios for 2021 were revised downward. The first scenario points to a rebound in July and would result in a 40% increase in international arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020, though still 63% below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. The second scenario considers a rebound in the month of September and a 10% increase in arrivals compared to 2020, though a 75% decrease compared to 2019.
- Along with the continuation of the vaccination rollout, the safe and responsible restart of tourism will depend on a coordinated response among countries regarding travel restrictions, standardized safety protocols and effective communication.