Business Development Tourism Travel

International tourist numbers drop by 65 percent during COVID-19 pandemic: UNWTO.

By Anyway Yotamu

International tourist arrivals plunged 93% in June when compared to 2019 owing to the severe impact of coronavirus to the tourism sector, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said.

The latest data from UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer shows that international tourist arrivals dropped by 65% in the first half of 2020.

“This represents an unprecedented decrease, as countries around the world closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic,” UNWTO stated.

Over recent weeks, a growing number of destinations started to open up again to international tourists. As of early September, 53% of destinations had eased travel restrictions.

“Nevertheless, many governments remain cautious, and this latest report shows that the lockdowns introduced during the first half of the year have had a massive impact on international tourism. The sharp and sudden fall in arrivals has placed millions of jobs and businesses at risk.”

UNWTO added that the massive drop in international travel demand over the period January-June 2020 translates into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about US$ 460 billion in export revenues from international tourism.

“This is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende