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Global tourism reached 63% of pre-pandemic level in 2022

Photo courtesy: Grgo Jelavic

International tourism reached 63 per cent of its pre-Covid level in 2022 despite doubling from a year ago, says the UN tourism agency.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data showed a total of 917 million tourists travelled internationally last year, a 101.6 increase from the previous year.

While all regions recorded a rise in international tourist figures, the Middle East particularly enjoyed the largest growth by reaching 83 per cent of business in the pre-pandemic period.

Tourist arrivals to the region rose 144.4 per cent year-on-year in 2022, leveraged by the hosting of remarkable global events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar, along with the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Europe made 80 per cent of its pre-Covid level with 585 million tourist arrivals in 2022.

Africa and the Americas both recovered almost a 65 per cent rise in their pre-Covid visitors, whereas Asia and the Pacific made only 23 per cent growth thanks to Covid-related travel restrictions.

Global tourism is expected to reach 80 per cent to 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels this year, especially in the Middle East and Europe.

While the UNWTO expects China’s lifting Covid-19 restrictions would benefit Asian destinations, particularly in the short run, riding on the availability and cost of air travel, visa regulations and Covid-related restrictions in the destinations.

It recalled that in mid-January, a total of 32 countries imposed specific travel restrictions related to travel from China, mostly in Asia and Europe. Solid travel demand from the US, with the backing of a strong dollar, is projected to continue boosting travel flows to Europe.

Staff Report

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