MADRID – Even as destinations debate measures to lift travel bands, new research from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) shows that 72% of global destinations remain closed to international tourism.
By region, Europe has the highest number of border closures at 83%, while Africa sits on the lowest end of the spectrum at 57%. Asia Pacific stands near the middle at 70%, while the Americas is at 80% and the Middle East at 62%.
According to WTO’s research, 156 out of 217 destinations worldwide have put a complete stop on international tourism, according to data collected as of 27 April.
In one-quarter of the destinations, the restrictions have been in place for at least three months. Forty percent of destinations have introduced the restrictions at least two months ago.
Most importantly, the research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased its COVID-19 related travel restrictions on international tourists.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili called 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”.
Countries are starting to consider opening up travel between two or three destinations.
Australia and New Zealand have committed to opening a ‘travel bubble’ that is expected to take at least a few months. In Europe, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have announced plans to open their borders for citizens to travel from Friday (15 May).