World tourism expected to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2023

January 20, 2023 - 21:30

TEHRAN - International visitor arrivals may surpass pre-pandemic levels by 80% to 95% this year, according to UNWTO's projections for 2023.

As mentioned by the UN Body, the rebound depends on several factors including the extent of the economic slowdown, the ongoing recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific, and the evolution of the Russian-Ukraine war, among other factors.

Available data suggest that more than 900 million tourists traveled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021 though still 63% of pre-pandemic levels.

Every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers. West Asia enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers.

Europe reached nearly 80% of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022. Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached only 23%, due to stronger pandemic-related restrictions which have started to be removed only in recent months.

The first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of 2023 also examines regional performance and highlights top destinations in 2022, including several that have already attained levels similar to those of 2019.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty. Economic factors may influence how people travel in 2023 and UNWTO expects demand for domestic and regional travel to remain strong and help drive the sector’s wider recovery.”

Even though the industry must contend with economic, health and geopolitical obstacles, the UNWTO expects the recovery to last through 2023. For the recovery of the tourism industry in Asia and the Pacific as well as globally, the recent lifting of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in China —the largest outbound market in 2019— is a significant step.


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