The latest data provided by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has shown that international tourism has significantly recovered in January 2022.
The data revealed that global international arrivals in January 2022 have increased by 130% compared to the same period last year. This means that only during the first month of 2022, the global market registered 18 million more visitors.
On global performance, the data showed that Europe (+199 per cent) and the Americas (+97 per cent) continued to post the strongest results. The Middle East (+89 per cent) and Africa (+51 per cent) also saw growth in January 2022 over January 2021.
By subregions, Western Europe registered the best results. Western Europe had four times more arrivals in January 2022 than in 2021, but still 58 per cent less than in 2019. In addition, several islands in the Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific, together with some European and Central American destinations recorded the best results compared to 2019: Seychelles (-27%), Bulgaria and Curaçao (both -20%), El Salvador (-19%), Serbia and Maldives (both -13%), Dominican Republic (-11%), Albania (-7%) and Andorra (-3%). Bosnia and Herzegovina (+2%) even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Among major destinations Turkey and Mexico saw declines of 16% and 24% respectively as compared to 2019.
However, the industry is currently dealing with some uncertainties due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 restrictions that continue to remain in place in some parts of the world.
Even though the number of global international tourist arrivals has increased significantly compared to last year, the figures still remain 67 per cent below the pre-pandemic levels.
UNWTO explains that such a thing is happening as the majority of countries are still keeping entry rules and other restrictions in place.
“While these figures confirm the positive trend already underway last year, the pace of recovery in January was impacted by the emergence of the Omicron variant and the re-introduction of travel restrictions in several destinations. Following the 71 per cent decline of 2021, international arrivals in January 2022 remained 67 per cent below pre-pandemic levels,” the statement of UNWTO reads.
Additionally, UNWTO has also discussed prospects for recovery. The latter has said that the ongoing war in Ukraine challenges the global economic environment as well as hampers the return of confidence in global travel.
“The war in Ukraine poses new challenges to the global economic environment and risks hampering the return of confidence in global travel. The US and the Asian source markets, which have started to open up, could be particularly impacted especially regarding travel to Europe, as these markets are historically more risk averse,” UNWTO added.
Even though it is too early to assess the impact of the war in Ukraine on global international tourism, bookings and air travel searches across several channels showed a slowdown at the end of February. Nonetheless, bookings have started to increase again as the situation in the other European countries remains completely safe.