World tourism has recovered from the worst crisis in its history

World tourism has recovered from the worst crisis in its history

International tourism growth in the world contributes high pent-up demand, increasing confidence and lifting restrictions on most destinations.

The latest study of world tourism by the World Tourism Organization shows that monthly tourist arrivals in January 2022 were 64% below the level of 2019 , and by September they pulled up to minus 27%. It is estimated that there were 340 million international arrivals in the third quarter of 2022 alone, nearly half of the nine-month total.

Europecontinues to lead the way in reviving international tourism. In January-September 2022, the region received 477 million international tourists — 68% of the total in the world, which is 81% higher than the level that existed before the pandemic. This is twice as much as in 2021. Particularly strong performance in Europe was seen in the third quarter, with arrivals reaching almost 90% of 2019 levels.

Number of international arrivals to Middle Eastmore than tripled (+225%) year-on-year, reaching 77% of pre-pandemic levels. Africa (+166%) and Americas (+106%) also recorded significant growth compared to 2021, reaching 63% and 66% of the level 2019 respectively. In Asia-Pacific(+230%) Tourist arrivals more than tripled in the first nine months of 2022, reflecting the reopening of many destinations, including Japan at the end of September. However, China — key sales market for the region — remains closed.

Western Europe (88%) and the Southern Mediterranean (86%) saw the fastest recovery compared to 2019 levels. The Caribbean, Central America (82%) and Northern Europe (81%) also scored well. Albania, Ethiopia, Honduras, Andorra, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador and Iceland reported volumes above pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, some destinations recorded notable growth in international tourism receipts in the first nine months of 2022, including Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Latvia, Portugal, Pakistan, Mexico, Morocco and France.

Hotel occupancy reached 66% in September 2022, up from 43% in January. Europe led with an occupancy rate of 77% in September 2022 after 74% in July and August. In the Americas (66%), the Middle East (63%) and Africa (61%), occupancy rates exceeded 60% in September.

According to experts, difficult economic conditions, including persistently high inflation, soaring energy prices and the situation in Eastern Europe may affect the pace of tourism recovery in Q4 2022 and 2023. However, despite mounting challenges leading to a slowdown in recovery, tourism export earnings could reach $1.2-1.3 trillion in 2022, up 60-70% from 2021.

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