The Middle East reported the best results globally for tourism during January to July 2023, with arrivals 20% above pre-pandemic levels, says a UNWTO report.
The region continues to be the only one to exceed 2019 levels so far.
International tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history as arrival numbers reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of July, according to the latest data from UNWTO.
Aprt from the Middle East, Europe and Africa lead the global sector's rebound, UNWTO World Tourism Barometer said.
About 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and July 2023, 43% more than in the same months of 2022, the Barometer said.
July was the busiest month with 145 million international travellers recorded, about 20% of the seven-month total.
UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as the sector recovers, it also needs to adapt, the report said.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: "UNWTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world. But as our sector recovers, it also needs to adapt. The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector."
Results by Region
All world regions enjoyed strong rates of tourism recovery over the first seven months of 2023, driven by demand for international travel from several large source markets:
* Europe, the world's largest destination region, reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels, supported by robust intra-regional demand and travel from the United States.
* Africa recovered 92% of pre-crisis visitors this seven-month period and the Americas 87% according to available data.
* In Asia and the Pacific, recovery accelerated to 61% of pre-pandemic arrival levels after the opening of many destinations and source markets at the end of 2022 and earlier this year.
Prospects for September-December 2023 point to continued recovery, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index, though at a more moderate pace following the peak travel season of June-August. These results will be driven by the still pent-up demand and increased air connectivity particularly in Asia and the Pacific where recovery is still subdued.
The reopening of China and other Asian markets and destinations is expected to continue boosting travel both within the region and to other parts of the world.
The challenging economic environment continues to be a critical factor in the effective recovery of international tourism in 2023, according to UNWTO's Panel of Experts.
Persisting inflation and rising oil prices have translated into higher transport and accommodations costs. This could weigh on spending patterns over the remainder of the year, with tourists increasingly seeking value for money, travelling closer to home and making shorter trips, it said. - TradeArabia News Service
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