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Tourism recovery accelerates to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels

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  An estimated 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September more than double 133 the number recorded for the same period in 2021 This equates to 63 of 2019 levels and puts the sector on course to reach 65 of its pre pandemic levels this year in line with UNWTO scenarios Results were boosted by strong pent up demand improved confidence levels and the lifting of restrictions in an increasing number of destinations Highlighting the speed at which the sector has recovered from the worst crisis in its history the latest World Tourism Barometer from UNWTO reveals that monthly arrivals were 64 below 2019 levels in January 2022 and had reached 27 by September An estimated 340 million international arrivals were recorded in the third quarter of 2022 alone almost 50 of the nine month total Europe continues to lead global recovery Europe continues to lead the rebound of international tourism The region welcomed 477 million international arrivals in January September 2022 68 of the world total hitting 81 of pre pandemic levels This was more than double that of 2021 126 with results boosted by strong intra regional demand and travel from the United States Europe saw particularly robust performance in Q3 when arrivals reached almost 90 of 2019 levels At the same time the Middle East saw international arrivals more than triple 225 year on year in January September 2022 climbing to 77 of pre pandemic levels Africa 166 and the Americas 106 also recorded strong growth compared to 2021 reaching 63 and 66 of 2019 levels respectively In Asia and the Pacific 230 arrivals more than tripled in the first nine months of 2022 reflecting the opening of many destinations including Japan at the end of September However arrivals in Asia and the Pacific remained 83 below 2019 levels China a key source market for the region remains closed Arrivals and receipts at or above pre pandemic levels Several subregions reached 80 to 90 of their pre pandemic arrivals in January September 2022 Western Europe 88 and Southern Mediterranean Europe 86 saw the fastest recovery towards 2019 levels The Caribbean Central America both 82 and Northern Europe 81 also recorded strong results Destinations reporting arrivals above pre pandemic levels in the nine months through September include Albania Ethiopia Honduras Andorra Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Colombia El Salvador and Iceland In the month of September arrivals surpassed pre pandemic levels in the Middle East 3 over 2019 and the Caribbean 1 and came close in Central America 7 Northern Europe 9 and Southern and Mediterranean Europe 10 Meanwhile some destinations recorded notable increases in international tourism receipts in the first seven to nine months of 2022 including Serbia Romania T rkiye Latvia Portugal Pakistan Mexico Morocco and France The recovery can also be seen in outbound tourism spending from major source markets with strong results from France where expenditure reached 8 through September compared to 2019 Other markets reporting strong spending in the first six to nine months of 2022 were Germany Belgium Italy the United States Qatar India and Saudi Arabia Strong demand for air travel and hotel accommodation The robust recovery of tourism is also reflected in various industry indicators such as air capacity and hotel metrics as recorded in the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker Air seat capacity on international routes measured in available seat kilometres or ASKs in January August reached 62 of 2019 levels with Europe 78 and the Americas 76 posting the strongest results Worldwide domestic capacity rose to 86 of 2019 levels with the Middle East 99 virtually achieving pre pandemic levels IATA Meanwhile according to STR global hotel occupancy rates reached 66 in September 2022 from 43 in January Europe led the way with occupancy levels at 77 in September 2022 following rates of 74 in July and August The Americas 66 the Middle East 63 and Africa 61 all saw occupancy rates above 60 in September By subregion Southern Mediterranean Europe 79 Western Europe 75 and Oceania 70 showed the highest occupancy rates in September 2022 Cautious optimism for the months ahead The challenging economic environment including persistently high inflation and soaring energy prices aggravated by the Russian offensive in Ukraine could weigh on the pace of recovery in Q4 and into 2023 The latest survey among the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts shows a downgrade in confidence levels for the last four months of 2022 reflecting more cautious optimism Despite growing challenges pointing to a softening of the recovery pace export revenues from tourism could reach USD 1 2 to 1 3 trillion in 2022 a 60 70 increase over 2021 or 70 80 of the USD 1 8 trillion recorded in 2019
Tourism recovery accelerates to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels

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January and September

An estimated 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September, more than double (+133%) the number recorded for the same period in 2021.

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This equates to 63% of 2019 levels and puts the sector on course to reach 65% of its pre-pandemic levels this year, in line with UNWTO scenarios.

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Results were boosted by strong pent-up demand, improved confidence levels and the lifting of restrictions in an increasing number of destinations.

World Tourism Barometer

Highlighting the speed at which the sector has recovered from the worst crisis in its history, the latest World Tourism Barometer from UNWTO reveals that monthly arrivals were 64% below 2019 levels in January 2022 and had reached -27% by September.

An estimated 340 million international arrivals were recorded in the third quarter of 2022 alone, almost 50% of the nine-month total.

Europe continues to lead global recovery

United States

Europe continues to lead the rebound of international tourism.

The region welcomed 477 million international arrivals in January-September 2022 (68% of the world total), hitting 81% of pre-pandemic levels.

This was more than double that of 2021 (+126%) with results boosted by strong intra-regional demand and travel from the United States.

Europe saw particularly robust performance in Q3, when arrivals reached almost 90% of 2019 levels.

Middle East

At the same time, the Middle East saw international arrivals more than triple (+225%) year on year in January-September 2022, climbing to 77% of pre-pandemic levels..

Africa (+166%) and the Americas (+106%) also recorded strong growth compared to 2021, reaching 63% and 66% of 2019 levels, respectively.

In Asia and the Pacific (+230%) arrivals more than tripled in the first nine months of 2022, reflecting the opening of many destinations, including Japan at the end of September.

However, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific remained 83% below 2019 levels.

China, a key source market for the region, remains closed.

Arrivals and receipts at – or above – pre-pandemic levels

Western Europe

Several subregions reached 80% to 90% of their pre-pandemic arrivals in January-September 2022.

Western Europe (88%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (86%) saw the fastest recovery towards 2019 levels.

The Caribbean, Central America (both 82%) and Northern Europe (81%) also recorded strong results.

Destinations reporting arrivals above pre-pandemic levels in the nine months through September include Albania, Ethiopia, Honduras, Andorra, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador and Iceland.

Middle East

In the month of September arrivals surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the Middle East (+3% over 2019) and the Caribbean (+1%) and came close in Central America (-7%), Northern Europe (-9%) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (-10%).

United States

Meanwhile, some destinations recorded notable increases in international tourism receipts in the first seven to nine months of 2022, including Serbia, Romania, Türkiye, Latvia, Portugal, Pakistan, Mexico, Morocco and France.

The recovery can also be seen in outbound tourism spending from major source markets, with strong results from France where expenditure reached -8% through September, compared to 2019.

Other markets reporting strong spending in the first six to nine months of 2022 were Germany, Belgium, Italy, the United States, Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia.

Strong demand for air travel and hotel accommodation

UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker

The robust recovery of tourism is also reflected in various industry indicators such as air capacity and hotel metrics, as recorded in the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker.

Air seat capacity on international routes (measured in available seat-kilometres or ASKs) in January-August reached 62% of 2019 levels, with Europe (78%) and the Americas (76%) posting the strongest results.

Worldwide domestic capacity rose to 86% of 2019 levels, with the Middle East (99%) virtually achieving pre-pandemic levels (IATA).

July and August

Meanwhile, according to STR, global hotel occupancy rates reached 66% in September 2022, from 43% in January.

Europe led the way with occupancy levels at 77% in September 2022, following rates of 74% in July and August.

The Americas (66%), the Middle East (63%) and Africa (61%) all saw occupancy rates above 60% in September.

By subregion, Southern Mediterranean Europe (79%), Western Europe (75%) and Oceania (70%) showed the highest occupancy rates in September 2022.

Cautious optimism for the months ahead

UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts

The challenging economic environment, including persistently high inflation and soaring energy prices, aggravated by the Russian offensive in Ukraine, could weigh on the pace of recovery in Q4 and into 2023.

The latest survey among the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts shows a downgrade in confidence levels for the last four months of 2022, reflecting more cautious optimism.

Despite growing challenges pointing to a softening of the recovery pace, export revenues from tourism could reach USD 1.2 to 1.3 trillion in 2022, a 60-70% increase over 2021, or 70-80% of the USD 1.8 trillion recorded in 2019.

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