Middle East, Africa record 75% decline in international arrivals in 2020 (UNWTO)

February 13, 2021

(TAP) - Global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74% according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The Middle East and Africa both recorded a 75% decline in 2020, a year described by the UNWTO as 'the worst year in tourism history with 1 billion fewer international arrivals,' according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

'Destinations worldwide welcomed 1 billion fewer international arrivals in 2020 than in the previous year, due to an unprecedented fall in demand and widespread travel restrictions. This compares with the 4% decline recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis,' the report reads.

Asia and the Pacific region, the first region to suffer the impact of the pandemic and the one with the highest level of travel restrictions currently in place, recorded the largest decrease in arrivals in 2020 (-84% that is 300 million fewer).

Europe recorded a 70% decrease in arrivals, despite a small and short-lived revival in the summer of 2020. The region suffered the largest drop in absolute terms with over 500 million fewer international tourists in 2020.

The Americas saw a 69% decrease in international arrivals, following somewhat better results in the last quarter of the year.

According to the Barometer, the collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of USD 1.3 trillion in export revenues - more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis. The crisis has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Tunisia's tourism revenues fell by 58% (not exceeding 150 million Tunisian dinars) in January 2021, according to the latest data released the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT).


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