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International Tourism ‘Well on Track’ to Return to Pre-Covid Strength This Year, says UNWTO

International tourism is on track to continue to recover and reach up to 95% of pre-pandemic levels this year, according to the United Nations.

The latest UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) world tourism barometer shows global tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history, with arrival numbers reaching 84% of pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2023. The Middle East, Europe and Africa lead the global sector’s rebound; with Europe alone back up to more than 90% of its pre-pandemic levels.

The UNWTO said global tourism remains “well on track” to reach 80%-95% of pre-Covid levels in 2023; with prospects for September-December pointing to continued recovery; albeit at a more moderate pace following the peak travel season of June-August.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt. The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector.”

While the reopening of China and other Asian markets is expected to continue boosting travel both within the region and to other parts of the world, the UNWTO sees the challenging economic environment – with persisting inflation and rising oil prices translating into higher trasnsport and accommodation costs – remaining a critical threat to growth.

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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