International tourism to reach 63 percent of pre-virus levels in 2022

International tourism to reach 63 percent of pre-virus levels in 2022

ANKARA: International tourism in 2022 will reach 63 percent of pre-virus levels, although the figure has doubled from a year ago, according to the United Nations (UN) tourism agency.

A total of 917 million tourists traveled around the world last year, up 101.6 percent from the previous year, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Tuesday.

Anadolu Agency reported that all regions recorded an increase in international tourist numbers, with West Asia enjoying the biggest increase, reaching 83 percent compared to pre-COVID levels.

Tourist arrivals to the region jumped 144.4 percent year-on-year in 2022 thanks to the hosting of events such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as well as the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

With 585 million tourist arrivals in 2022, Europe reaches 80 percent of pre-Covid levels.

The number of visitors to Africa and the Americas recovered by almost 65 percent while Asia and the Pacific only gained 23 percent due to COVID-related movement restrictions.

International tourist arrivals are projected to reach 80 percent to 95 percent of pre-Covid levels this year, with Europe and West Asia expected to reach that level.

Although the UNWTO expects China’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions to benefit Asian destinations, particularly in the short term, it depends on the availability and cost of air travel, visa regulations and COVID-related restrictions at the destination.

In mid-January, 32 countries mostly in Asia and Europe imposed travel restrictions, especially involving travel from China.

Strong travel demand from the United States (US) supported by a strong US dollar is expected to continue to increase travel flows to Europe.

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