Restrictions on tourism travel starting to ease but caution remains: UNWTO

The world is slowly opening up again, new research from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) indicates, with destinations cautiously easing travel restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19. As the UN specialised agency releases its ‘Global Guidelines for Reopening Tourism’, signalling a transition into gearing up for stronger and better recovery, 3% of all global destinations have now taken steps to ease travel restrictions.

UNWTO has been monitoring the global response to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The fourth edition of its new COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism report, again looked at the measures of 217 destinations worldwide as of 18 May 2020. The research shows that seven destinations have eased travel restrictions for international tourism purposes. At the same time, several more destinations are engaged in significant discussions about the re-opening of borders.

“Vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation.”

The report notes that 100% of all destinations worldwide continue to have some form of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in place. Furthermore, as of 18 May, 75% continued to have their borders completely closed for international tourism. In 37% of all cases, travel restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24% of global destinations have had restrictions in place for 14 weeks or more.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way. This will contribute to the livelihoods of many millions of people around the world. The sector is a driver of sustainable development and a pillar of economies. UNWTO stresses the need for vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation as the world slowly opens up again.”

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