International travel is once again increasing, according to a UN World Tourism Organization report, but it has not yet recovered to its pre-pandemic levels. The reopening of China is anticipated to accelerate the recovery process in 2023.
According to a new report released on Tuesday by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international travel increased in 2022 compared to levels in 2021, with the Middle East and Europe making a strong comeback. More than 900 million people travelled abroad in 2022 as several nations with strict coronavirus prohibitions loosened regulations.
The rate was 63% of pre-pandemic levels. Almost 1.5 billion people travelled abroad in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, travel and tourism made up almost 10% of the world’s GDP. In 2019, the travel sector was estimated to be worth $3.5 trillion, and the pandemic threatened millions of employment.
As international arrivals increased to 83% of pre-pandemic levels last year, the Middle East saw the greatest relative growth. When compared to travel levels prior to the pandemic, Europe, whose 31 nations had no coronavirus limitations as of June 2 of last year, likewise achieved a strong recovery, accounting for 80% of that recovery.
International arrivals only reached 23% of pre-pandemic levels since some Asia-Pacific nations still abide by coronavirus quarantines. Chinese tourists, who are among the top spenders on tourism worldwide, are likely to return, which will certainly help Asian locations in the short run.
The UN agency, which is based in Madrid, Spain, is optimistic that international travel will nearly fully recover this year and hopes that, if conditions permit, it will increase to between 80% and 95% of pre-pandemic levels.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “the agency anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty.”
They caution that variables such as inflation, economic slowdown, or Russia’s conflict with Ukraine could affect people’s choices.