Although still below 2019 levels, the number of tourists in Europe and America is on the rise.
The World Tourism Organization reports that tourism continues to recover at a strong pace. Globally, international flights almost tripled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, with Europe leading the sector. Experts also look to the future with great optimism.
According to the World Tourism Barometer, in January-March 2022, international tourism increased by 182% compared to the same period last year, with the number of international tourists arriving around the world estimated at 117 million compared to 41 million in the first quarter of 2021 of the year. about 47 million were recorded in the first three months in March, indicating that the recovery is gaining momentum.
WTO data show that Europe received almost four times as many international arrivals (+280%) in the first quarter of 2022 as in the first quarter of 2021, with the results driven by strong intra-regional demand. In America, arrivals more than doubled (+117%) in the same three months. However, arrivals in Europe and America were still 43% and 46% below 2019 levels, respectively.
The Middle East (+132%) and Africa (+96%) also saw strong growth in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, but arrivals remained 59% and 61% below 2019 levels, respectively. Asia-Pacific recorded a 64% increase over 2021, but again levels were 93% below 2019 levels as some destinations remained closed to non-essential travel.
Across the subregions, the Caribbean and Southern Mediterranean countries continue to show the fastest recovery rates in Europe. In both cases, arrivals have recovered to nearly 75% of 2019 levels, with some destinations reaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
While international tourism remains 61% below 2019 levels, a gradual recovery is expected to continue throughout 2022 as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions and pent-up demand is released. As of June 2, 45 destinations (31 of which are in Europe) had no COVID-19 related restrictions. In Asia, a growing number of destinations have begun easing these restrictions.
Despite these positive prospects, the challenging economic environment, coupled with the Russian Federation’s military offensive against Ukraine, poses a negative risk to the continued recovery of international tourism. The Russian offensive into Ukraine appears to have had a limited direct impact on overall outcomes so far, although it hinders travel in Eastern Europe. However, the conflict has serious economic consequences…