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International Tourism Back to Pre-Covid Health, But Challenges Remain, World Economic Forum Warns

International tourism has fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but different regions are improving at different speeds and major challenges remain, according to the latest travel and tourism study by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

According to the WEF’s latest Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI), for 2024, the Middle East had the highest recovery rates in international tourist arrivals; while Europe, Africa and the Americas also showed strong recovery last year.

“This year marks a turning point for the travel and tourism sector, which we know has the capacity to unlock growth and serve communities through economic and social transformation,” said Francisco Betti, Head of the Global Industries team at the World Economic Forum. “The TTDI offers a forward-looking window into the current and future state of travel and tourism for leaders to navigate the latest trends in this complex sector and sustainably unlock its potential for communities and countries across the world.”

But, although the sector has moved past the shock of the global health crisis, it continues to deal with other external challenges, the WEF said – from growing macroeconomic, geopolitical and environmental risks, to increased scrutiny of its sustainability practices and the impact of new digital technologies, such as big data and artificial intelligence.

In addition, labour shortages are ongoing, and air route capacity, capital investment, productivity and other sector supply factors have not kept up with the increase in demand. This imbalance, worsened by global inflation, has increased prices and service issues.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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