Around a billion fewer tourists travelled last year when compared with 2019 according to the World Tourism Organisation.
After a weak first half of 2021, international tourism recovered moderately in the second half of the year, which ended with 4 percent more international tourist arrivals than in the first pandemic year 2020 or 15 million more. However, when compared with 2019 there were around 1 billion fewer tourists.
"With Europe, the Americas are the world regions that achieved the best tourism in 2021, whilst the Caribbean is among the best sub-regions. The overall improvement in tourism in 2021 was driven by increased passenger confidence amid vaccinations and easing travel restrictions in many destinations,” commented the UNWTO, stressing that tourism recovery remains fragile and uneven due to omicron and high rates of infection in some parts of the world.
According to data, this caused 65 percent less international tourist arrivals in the world in December 2021 than in the same month in 2019, and shows the full effect of omicron on tourism, according to the organization.
The number of closed destinations in the world in 2021, especially in November, decreased to the lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic, but Asia and the Pacific still remain the world's regions with the largest share of closed destinations.
In 2021, Europe achieved the best tourist results among all the world's regions, with an increase of 19 percent compared to 2020.
The UNWTO singles out the European sub region of the southern Mediterranean, where in 2021 the number of foreign tourist arrivals increased by almost 60 percent compared to 2020, which is 54 percent less than in 2019, as well as Central and Eastern Europe with 18 percent more tourist arrivals than in 2020.
The UNWTO Confidence Index shows that there may be a decline in tourist arrivals around the world between January and April 2022.