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.
UNWTO World Tourism Barometer March 2022 issue:
Tourism Enjoys Strong Start to 2022 while Facing New Uncertainties
International tourism continued its recovery in January 2022, with much better performance compared to the weak start of 2021. World arrivals more than doubled (+130%) compared to January 2021, an increase of 18 million.
- International tourism continued its recovery in January 2022, with much better performance compared to the weak start of 2021.
- World arrivals more than doubled (+130%) compared to January 2021, an increase of 18 million. This is the same increase as in the whole of 2021 compared to 2020.
- Despite the robust results, the pace of recovery in January was impacted by the Omicron variant and the re-introduction of travel restrictions in several destinations. Arrivals were at -67% in January 2022 compared to 2019, after reaching -60% in Q4 2021.
- All world regions enjoyed a significant rebound in January 2022 compared to the low levels of January 2021. Europe (+199%) and the Americas (+97%) continued to post the strongest results, though international arrivals were still around half of pre-pandemic levels (-53% and -52% respectively).
- The Middle East (+89%) and Africa (+51%) also saw growth in January 2022 over 2021, but these regions saw a drop of 63% and 69% respectively compared to 2019. While Asia and the Pacific recorded a 44% year-on-year increase, several destinations remained closed to non-essential travel resulting in the largest decrease in international arrivals over 2019 (-93%).
- By subregions, the best results were recorded in Western Europe which saw four times more arrivals in January 2022 than in 2021, but 58% less than in 2019. Additionally, the Caribbean (-38%) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (-41%) showed the fastest rates of recovery towards 2019 levels.
- After the unprecedented growth of 2022 and 2021, international tourism is expected to continue its gradual recovery in 2022. As of 24 March, 12 destinations had no COVID-19 related restrictions in place and an increasing number of destinations were easing or lifting travel restrictions, which is helping to unleash pent-up demand.
- However, high uncertainty derived from the military offensive of the Russian Federation on Ukraine coupled with a challenging economic environment and the travel restrictions still in place due to the ongoing pandemic, could affect overall confidence and disrupt the upward trend seen in tourism in 2021.
- The war in Ukraine poses new challenges to the global economic environment and risks hampering the return of confidence in global travel. The US and the Asian source markets, which have started to open up, could be particularly impacted especially regarding travel to Europe, as these markets are historically more risk averse.
- The shutdown of Ukrainian and Russian airspace, as well as the ban on Russian carriers by many European countries is affecting intra-European travel. It is also causing detours in long-haul flights between Europe and East Asia, which translates into longer flights and higher costs. Russia and Ukraine accounted for a combined 3% of global spending on international tourism in 2020 and at least US$ 14 billion in global tourism receipts could be lost if the conflict is prolonged. The importance of both markets is significant for neighbouring countries, but also for European sun and sea destinations.
- The Russian market also gained significant weight during the pandemic for long haul destinations such as Maldives, Seychelles or Sri Lanka. As destinations Russia and Ukraine accounted for 4% of all international arrivals in Europe but only 1% of Europe’s international tourism receipts in 2020.
- Even though it is too early to assess the impact, air travel searches and bookings across various channels showed a slowdown the week after the invasion but started to rebound in early March.
- It is certain that the offensive will add further pressure to already challenging economic conditions, undermining consumer confidence and raising investment uncertainty.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates global economic growth could be more than 1% lower this year than previously projected, while inflation, already high at the start of the year, could be at least a further 2.5% higher.
- The recent spike in oil prices (Brent reached its highest levels in 10 years), and rising inflation are making accommodation and transport services more expensive, adding extra pressure on businesses, consumer purchasing power and savings.
- This forecast is in line with the analysis on the potential consequences of the conflict on global economic recovery and growth by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which has also downgraded its projection for world economic growth in 2022 from 3.6% to 2.6%, and warned that developing countries will be most vulnerable to the slowdown.