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UNWTO Report Reveals Further Reduction in Travel Restrictions

December 12, 2020 Destination Global No Comments

The number of destinations closed to international tourism has continued to fall.

According to the eighth edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report, 70 percent of all global destinations have eased restrictions on travel introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In comparison, just one in four destinations continue to keep their borders completely closed to international tourists.

Launched by the World Tourism Organisation at the start of the pandemic, the Travel Restrictions Report keeps track of measures being taken in 217 destinations worldwide, helping to support the mitigation and recovery efforts of the tourism sector.

For this latest edition, the methodology has been updated to offer insights into the tourism flows of destinations, as well as to explore the link between health and hygiene infrastructure, environmental performance, and any potential connection to travel restrictions.

The report shows that, as of November 1st, a total of 152 destinations have eased restrictions on international tourism, up from the 115 recorded on September 1st.

At the same time, 59 destinations have kept their borders closed to tourists, a decrease of 34 over the same two-month period.

UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “The lifting of travel restrictions is essential to drive our wider recovery from the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Governments have an important part to play in giving data-led and responsible travel advice and in working together to lift restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Looking further into current Covid-19-related travel restrictions, the report sheds new light on the factors connecting those destinations which have eased restrictions and those where borders remain closed.

The study found that destinations with higher scores in health and hygiene indicators as well as on the environmental performance index are among those which have eased restrictions faster.

Moreover, these destinations are increasingly applying differentiated, risk-based approaches to implementing travel restrictions.

In comparison, destinations choosing to keep their borders closed tend to be within emerging economies with relatively low scores in health and hygiene indicators and environmental performance index.

Surprisingly, most of these destinations are in Asia and the Pacific, with many belonging to the SIDS (small island developing states), LDCs (least developed countries) or LLDCs (landlocked developing countries). As we know Australia and New Zealand do not make part of this as the international borders continue to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

As in previous editions, the new UNWTO Travel Restrictions report also breaks the destination analysis down by regions.

Europe continues to lead the way in lifting or easing travel restrictions followed by the Americas, Africa, and then the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Asia and the Pacific continues to be the region with the fewest travel restrictions eased and more complete border closures in place for international tourism.

Edited by: Joe Cusmano

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