Global tourism is still on the ground.

The sector is expected to lose another 2,000 billion dollars this year under the effect of restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Tourism Organization announced on Monday.

The UNWTO also considers the resumption of activity "slow" and "fragile".

The estimate, similar to losses in 2020, comes as new restrictions have been taken to deal with a new wave of the epidemic and the Omicron variant spreads around the world.

These latest developments show above all that "the situation is totally unpredictable" and that the sector is not immune to hazards likely to cause "enormous economic damage", acknowledged the Secretary General of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili. .

A "historic" but surmountable crisis

According to the UN agency, which will hold its General Assembly in Madrid from Tuesday until December 3, international tourist arrivals should thus remain this year "70 to 75% lower" than those of the pre-pandemic. . "The crisis in the tourism sector is historic, but tourism has the capacity to recover quickly", however nuance Zurab Pololikashvili, saying that he "hopes that 2022 will be a much better year than 2021".

According to the barometer published by the UN agency, international tourist arrivals have "rebounded during the summer season", suggesting an improvement after a sluggish start to the year, thanks to "the rapid progression of vaccinations".

Despite everything, "the pace of recovery remains uneven depending on the region of the world," insists the UNWTO, which attributes this heterogeneous situation to "varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and travelers' confidence".

Still 46 countries totally closed

During the third quarter, some Caribbean islands as well as several destinations in southern Europe and the Mediterranean recorded "arrivals close (...) or sometimes even higher" than 2019 levels, underlines the organization. Other countries, on the other hand, have received virtually no tourists, particularly in Asia and the Pacific region, where many states still currently ban "non-essential" travel. According to the UNWTO, 46 countries remain at this stage completely closed to tourists, or one in five destinations, and 55 are partially so. Conversely, four countries have lifted all restrictions: Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Due to the uncertainties weighing on the evolution of the epidemic, the UNWTO does not at this stage give an estimate of the number of tourists who could go abroad in 2022. “Unequal vaccination rates” and "The new strains of Covid-19" could slow down this "recovery", underlines the organization, which also fears the effects "of the recent surge in oil prices" on travel.

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