Forty percent of tourist destinations worldwide have eased the travel restrictions implemented in response to COVID-19, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Of the 87 destinations reported to have eased restrictions in the July UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report, four have completely lifted all restrictions and the other 83 have still kept some protocols in place, like partial border closures.
The other 115 destinations have still kept their borders completely closed for tourism.
“The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in a statement released on July 30. “As destinations continue to ease restrictions to travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance. This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.”
Destinations with a higher dependency on tourism are more likely to ease travel restrictions, according to the report, with 20 out of the 87 destinations in the report being Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which depend on tourism for employment and economic growth and development.
Around half of the destinations ( 41 ) are in Europe, another popular tourist destination.
Read also: 96 percent of travel destinations off-limits to tourists: UNWTO
The majority of the destinations in the report, specifically 88 of them, are still completely closed for tourism and have been for more than 12 weeks now. The shutdown has already seen a reported loss of US$320 million by the end of May in tourism, which is three times the loss incurred during the 2009 global financial crisis.
Three percent of destinations had reopened in mid-May, rising to 22 percent mid-June. (car/kes)