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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, Update December 2020

International tourism expected to decline over 70% in 2020, back to levels of 30 years ago

International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) fell by 72% in January-October 2020 over the same period last year, curbed by slow virus containment, low traveller confidence and important restrictions on travel still in place, due to the COVID-19 pandemic

International tourist arrivals fell by 72% in January-October 2020, with restrictions on travel, low consumer confidence and a global struggle to contain the COVID-19 virus, all contributing to the worst year for tourism on record.

The decline in the first ten months of the year represents 900 million fewer international tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019, and translates into a loss of US$ 935 billion in export revenues from international tourism, more than 10 times the loss in 2009 under the impact of the global economic crisis.

Asia and the Pacific saw an 82% decrease in arrivals in January-October 2020. The Middle East recorded a 73% decline, while Africa saw a 69% drop this ten-month period. International arrivals in both Europe and the Americas declined by 68%.

Data on international tourism expenditure continues to reflect very weak demand for outbound travel. However, some large markets such as the United States, Germany and France have shown some shy signs of recovery in the recent months.

While demand for international travel remains subdued, domestic tourism continues to grow in several large markets such as China and Russia, where domestic air travel demand has mostly returned to pre-COVID levels.

Based on current trends, UNWTO expects international arrivals to decline by 70% to 75% for the whole of 2020. This would mean that international tourism could have returned to levels of 30 years ago.

The estimated decline in internationals tourism in 2020 is equivalent to a loss of about 1 billion arrivals and US$ 1.1 trillion in international tourism receipts. This plunge in international tourism could result in an estimated economic loss of over US$ 2 trillion in global GDP, more than 2% of the world’s GDP in 2019.

Looking ahead, the announcement and the roll-out of a vaccine are expected to gradually increase consumer confidence and contribute to ease travel restrictions.

UNWTO’s extended scenarios for 2021-2024 point to a rebound in international tourism by the second half of 2021. Nonetheless, a return to 2019 levels in terms of international arrivals could take 2½ to 4 years.

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