A majority of destinations around the world (53%) have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though many remain cautious in view of the development of the pandemic, the seventh edition of the UNWTO “COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism” confirms the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of tourism.
Analysing restrictions up to 1 September, the research carried out by the United Nations specialized agency for tourism found that a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have eased travel restrictions, an increase of 28 since 19 July. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Coordinated leadership and enhanced cooperation between governments means tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world. Starting to ease restrictions on travel opens also the doors for tourism’s social and economic benefits to return. While we must remain vigilant and cautious, we are concerned about those destinations with ongoing full travel restrictions, especially where tourism is a lifeline and economic and social development are under threat.”
For the first time, the COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions report includes key data on the health and hygiene infrastructure in place at destinations, while also analysing rate of notifications of new COVID-19 cases. This allows UNWTO to determine the factors that are influencing destinations’ decisions to ease restrictions. Notably, the report shows:
Destinations which have eased travel restrictions generally have high or very high levels of health and hygiene infrastructure. They also tend to have comparatively low COVID-19 infection rates.