The recovery of global tourism is slow and fragile

Global tourism has improved in the third quarter of 2021, according to a recent report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which believes, however, that the recovery is still fragile. It rebounded during the northern hemisphere's summer season, after a gloomy first half of 2021. This boosted “the results of the third quarter of the year, especially in Europe,” said the specialized agency of the United Nations. Indeed, the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) jumped 58% in July-September compared to the same period in 2020. In its report, made public recently , the UN agency nevertheless notes that the number of tourist arrivals remained 64% below the levels recorded in 2019. “The data for the third quarter of 2021 are encouraging. However, arrivals are still 76% below pre-pandemic levels and results in different regions of the world remain uneven, ”UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili further informed. According to the UNWTO, the data collected shows that “Europe recorded the best relative performance in the third quarter, with international arrivals down 53% compared to the same three-month period of 2019. In August and September, arrivals, down 63% compared to 2019, posted their best monthly results since the start of the pandemic ”. According to the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, between January and September, international tourist arrivals worldwide fell by 20% compared to 2020, thus representing a clear improvement compared to the first six months of the year ( -54%). The same source indicates that arrivals exceeded 2020 levels in the first nine months of 2021 in some sub-regions, including southern and Mediterranean Europe, the Caribbean, North and Central America. According to the available data, it emerges from the same report that “certain islands in the Caribbean and South Asia, as well as a few small destinations in southern Europe and the Mediterranean, had their best performances in the third quarter of 2021, with arrivals close to pre-pandemic levels, even sometimes higher, ”reports the international organization. Despite the recovery observed in the third quarter of the year, the UNWTO notes that the pace of the recovery remains uneven depending on the region of the world; due to “varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence.” “While Europe (-53%) and the Americas (-60%) enjoyed relative improvement in the third quarter of 2021, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific decreased by 95% compared to 2019 , many destinations remaining closed to non-essential travel, ”noted the organization in its specialized publication. After analysis, it also emerges that “Africa and the Middle East recorded respective decreases of 74% and 81% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to 2019”. In contrast, Croatia (-19%), Mexico (-20%) and Turkey (-35%) posted the best results in July-September 2021, UNWTO said. In terms of international tourism receipts, the data show a similar improvement. In the sense that, “Mexico recorded the same level of revenue as in 2019 while Turkey (-20%), France (-27%) and Germany (-37%) experienced a comparatively lower lower than at the start of the year ”. Regarding trips abroad, the UNWTO reports that the results were also somewhat better, especially in France and Germany where they recorded respectively, -28% and -33% for international tourism expenditure in the country. third trimester. As the World Tourism Organization notes in its report, “the safe recovery of international tourism will continue to depend largely on a coordinated response between countries in terms of travel restrictions, harmonized safety and health protocols. and effective communication to help restore consumer confidence, especially at a time when cases are increasing in some regions ”. Alain Bouithy