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UNWTO: World tourism remains at a standstill as all countries impose restrictions on travel

COVID-19 has placed the whole world on lockdown, with new research from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, showing that 100 percent of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place, and 72 percent have completely closed their borders to international tourism.

From the start of the crisis, the United Nations specialised agency for tourism has been tracking responses to the pandemic. This latest research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, 100 percent of destinations worldwide still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place.

Out of all 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72 percent) have placed a complete stop on international tourism according to the data collected as of 27 April 2020. In 25 percent of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40 percent of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago. Most importantly, the research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries lockdown and people stay at home. UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”

The UNWTO research tracks measures taken since the end of January, when the World Health Organisation, WHO, declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, PHEIC.

Breaking the research down by region, UNWTO has found that 83 percent of destinations in Europe have introduced complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80 percent, in Asia and the Pacific it is 70 percent, in the Middle East it is 62 percent and in Africa it is 57 percent.

UNWTO has been working closely with international organisations, national governments and the private sector, to support the responsible and timely recovery of tourism. Within the past two weeks, UNWTO Secretary-General has addressed Ministers of the G20 and of the EU Commission, making the case for tourism to be made a priority as countries look to recover from the crisis.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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