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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.

International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) dropped by 85% in January-May 2021 compared to the same period of pre-pandemic year 2019, or 65% over 2020, as travel restrictions remained high due to the coronavirus pandemic

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Update July 2021

International Travel Largely on Hold Despite Uptick in May 2021

  • International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) dropped by 85% in January-May 2021 compared to the same period of pre-pandemic year 2019, or 65% over 2020, as travel restrictions remained high due to the coronavirus pandemic. This follows an unprecedented drop of 73% in 2020, the worst year on record for international tourism.
  • This sharp decline represents a loss of some 147 million international arrivals compared to the same five months of 2020, or 460 million compared to 2019.
  • By regions, Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the largest decline with a 95% drop in international arrivals in the first five months of 2021 over the same period in 2019. Europe (-85%) recorded the second largest decline in arrivals, followed by the Middle East (-83%) and Africa (-81%). The Americas (-72%) saw a comparatively smaller decrease.
  • Despite the weak results, international tourism saw a minor uptick in May 2021 with arrivals declining by 82% (versus May 2019), after falling by 86% in April, as some destinations started to ease travel restrictions and consumer confidence rose slightly.
  • After an estimated 64% plunge in international tourism receipts in 2020, destinations continued to report very weak revenues in the first five months of 2021, ranging from 50% to 90% declines compared to 2019. However, several countries recorded a small uptick in the month of May following a minor improvement in international arrivals.
  • In terms of outbound travel among the top 20 source markets, Saudi Arabia (-42%) and Belgium (-46%) saw relatively better results in January-May 2021, as well as the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Switzerland, all recording 50% declines in international tourism expenditure compared to the same period in 2019. France is also worth noting, with -54% in expenditure compared to 2019.
  • International travel is slowly picking up from very low levels, though the recovery remains fragile and uneven amid much uncertainty. Domestic travel is driving the recovery of tourism in several destinations, especially those with large domestic markets. Domestic air seat capacity in China and Russia has already exceeded pre-crisis levels.
  • Along with the ongoing vaccination roll-out, the safe and responsible restart of tourism will continue to depend on a coordinated response among countries regarding travel restrictions, harmonized safety protocols and effective communication to help restore consumer confidence.

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