International Tourism Poised to Reach 65% of Pre-Pandemic Levels by End of This Year

International Tourism Poised to Reach 65% of Pre-Pandemic Levels by End of This Year


A new report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has revealed that during the January-September period of this year, about 700 million tourists traveled internationally, which is a double increase or +133 per cent from the number recorded in the same period in 2021.

Such data also show that by the end of this year, international tourism is expected to reach 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to the UNWTO, the tourism sector has seen promising results following improved confidence levels and the lifting of restrictions related to COVID-19.

“Highlighting the speed at which the sector has recovered from the worst crisis in its history, the latest World Tourism Barometer from UNWTO reveals that monthly arrivals were 64 per cent below 2019 levels in January 2022 and had reached -27 per cent by September. An estimated 340 million international arrivals were recorded in the third quarter of 2022 alone, almost 50 per cent of the nine-month total,” the report explains.

UNWTO data further reveals that during the above-mentioned period, Europe welcomed 477 million international arrivals, marking 81 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, marking double figures of those recorded in 2021 or +126 per cent.

In the third quarter of this year, Europe also saw a particularly strong performance when arrivals reached almost 90 per cent of 2019 levels.

In this regard, the Middle East also saw international arrivals more than triple or +225 per cent year-on-year in January-September this year, rounding 77 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

In addition, Africa and the Americas recorded strong growth compared to 2021, with +166 per cent and +106 per cent, respectively. Even Asia and the Pacific together saw a pearl-like increase in arrivals by +230 per cent in the first nine months of 2022.

Based on UNWTO data, the sub-regions that saw the fastest recovery toward 2019 levels are as follows:

  • Western Europe (88 per cent)
  • Southern Mediterranean Europe (86 per cent)
  • Caribbean, Central America (82 per cent)
  • Northern Europe (81 per cent)

Moreover, during the January-August period of this year, airline seat capacity on the lines reached 62 per cent of 2019 levels, with Europe at 78 per cent and America at 76 per cent. Meanwhile, domestic worldwide the figures grew to 86 per cent of 2019 levels, with the Middle East marking 99 per cent.

As STR explains, in September, global hotel occupancy rates reached 66 per cent, compared to 43 per cent in January.

As a result, Europe led the way with utilization levels at 77 per cent after rates of 74 per cent were recorded in July and August.

The Americas, with a percentage of 66 per cent, the Middle East, with 63 per cent and Africa, with 61 per cent, also recorded 60 per cent in terms of overall occupancy levels in September.

The highest occupancy rates during September showed sub-regions, including Southern Mediterranean Europe at 79 per cent, Western Europe at 75 per cent, and Oceania at 70 per cent.

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