Written by Juergen T Steinmetz
The second UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of the year shows that the sector’s swift recovery has continued into 2023. It shows that:
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Overall, international arrivals reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023
Tourism has continued to show its resilience. Revised data for 2022 shows over 960 million tourists traveling internationally last year, meaning two-thirds (66%) of pre-pandemic numbers were recovered.
Recovery by Region in Q1 2023:
The Middle East saw the strongest performance as the only region exceeding 2019 arrivals (+15%) and the first to recover pre-pandemic numbers in a full quarter.
Europe reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels, driven by strong intra-regional demand.
Africa reached 88% and the Americas about 85% of 2019 levels
Asia and the Pacific accelerated its recovery with 54% of pre-pandemic levels, but this upward trend is set to accelerate now that most destinations, particularly China, have re-opened.
The UNWTO data also analyses recovery by sub-region and by destination: Southern Mediterranean Europe and North Africa have also recovered pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2023, while Western Europe, Northern Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean all came close to reaching those levels.
What it Means:
International tourism receipts grew back to hit the USD1 trillion mark in 2022, growing 50% in real terms compared to 2021, driven by the important rebound in international travel. International visitor spending reached 64% of pre-pandemic levels (-36% compared to 2019, measured in real terms).
By regions, Europe enjoyed the best results in 2022, with nearly USD 550 billion in tourism receipts (EUR 520 billion), or 87% of pre-pandemic levels. Africa recovered 75% of its pre-pandemic receipts, the Middle East 70%, and the Americas 68%. Due to prolonged border shutdowns, Asian destinations earned about 28%.
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