The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly threatened world tourism, reducing the number of international arrivals from the beginning of the year to the end of April by 44 percent over the same period last year, with revenue losses of $195 billion, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has reported.
Although April was expected to be one of the busiest times of the year due to the Easter holidays the almost universal introduction of travel restrictions led to a 97 percent drop in international tourist arrivals that month.
In March, the decline was 55 percent worldwide, while for the period from April onwards, especially for the summer part of the tourist year, the UNWTO notes that "some hope is seen", but that everything is still uncertain and ungrateful for forecasts.
"The sharp decline in the number of tourists threatens millions of jobs and the economy, and it is vital that restarting tourism becomes a priority and managed responsibly, protecting the most vulnerable and taking care of health and safety. Until tourism is restarted, we call for strong support and we welcome the steps taken by both the EU and individual countries, including France and Spain, to economically support tourism and build the foundations for recovery," said the UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.
UNWTO data shows that by the end of April, tourism in Asia and the Pacific had been hit hardest by the pandemic, with 51 percent fewer foreign tourists than last year, while Europe was in second place with a 44 percent drop. They are followed by the Middle East with a drop of 40 percent, America with 36 percent, while in Africa there were 35 percent fewer international tourist arrivals than last year.
The UNWTO points out that they projected in early May that tourism in 2020 could face a potential drop in the total number of international tourists of 60 to 80 percent, depending on the lifting of travel restrictions.
But they add that since mid-May, they have found an increase in the number of destinations gradually opening with measures to restart tourism, including the introduction of improved safety and hygiene measures and policies aimed at promoting domestic tourism.