According to the most recent data from UNWTO, the global vaccination rollout as well as increased use of digital solutions to safe travel should result in an increase in international mobility in the coming weeks and months.
The latest edition of the Travel Restrictions Report, a United Nations special agency for tourism, shows that 29% of all destinations around the world have their borders closed to international tourists as of June 1. More than half of these destinations have been closed to international tourists for more than a year, most of them belonging to small island development states in Asia and the Pacific. Only three destinations, Albania, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic, are open to tourists with no restrictions.
Cooperation and evidence-based actions
34 percent of destinations are closed partially, while 36% require a negative COVID-19 result upon arrival. In some cases, this may be combined with quarantine. These data show that destinations are adopting more nuanced and risk-based travel restrictions, especially in light of evolving epidemiological conditions and the emergence new strains of the virus. In fact, 42% have placed restrictions on visitors from countries with concerns ranging from travel bans and closure of borders to mandatory quarantine.
The data shows that the most restrictive destinations have the lowest vaccination rates. This indicates that there is a correlation between speed of vaccination and the ease of restrictions. It is better to allow tourism to return slowly to destinations with higher vaccination rates and countries that can work together to harmonize rules and protocols, such as those in the Schengen region of the European Union.
According to Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of UNWTO, governments are crucial in the recovery and restart of tourism. This is possible through collaboration, data use and digital solutions.
There are still regional differences in travel restrictions. 70% of all destinations within Asia and the Pacific remain closed, compared to 13% in Europe and 20% in the Americas.
According to current requirements, 17% worldwide destinations specifically mention vaccinated travelers in their regulations. Most cases still apply travel restrictions to fully vaccinated travelers (those who have received two doses from an approved vaccine), but in some cases all restrictions are lifted. UNWTO anticipates significant changes in the coming weeks.
According to the report, global tourism's revival will be muted if governments continue to warn people about dangers. Four of the top 10 source markets continue to advise their citizens against travel abroad that is not essential (these four countries accounted for 25% of all international arrivals in 2018.