Around a third of 217 world travel destinations surveyed remain completely closed to international tourists, as concerns grow over the impact of new coronavirus variants, and some governments reverse efforts to ease restrictions, according to a new report released by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Monday.
Among the destinations now off limits, more than half of them have been inaccessible to overseas travelers since 27 April last year.
UNWTO 9th travel restrictions report is out📢!
🔒32% destinations are completely closed for int’l tourism
🔓34% destinations are partially closed
🧪32% destinations request a PCR or antigen test
✈️2% destinations lifted COVID-19 restrictions
— World Tourism Organization (@UNWTO) March 8, 2021
Moreover, most of the former tourist draws affected, are in Asia, the Pacific and Europe, according to the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report.
On the other side of the coin, more than a third of global tourism destinations are now partially open to international visitors, with Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, North Macedonia and Tanzania, lifting all COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
‘Safe and responsible’
Noting that travel restrictions have been widely used to restrict the spread of the virus, Zurab Polilikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, stressed that “as we work to restart tourism, we must recognise that restrictions are just one part of the solution.”
He further underscored that travel restrictions must be based on the latest data and analysis, and consistently reviewed “so as to allow for the safe and responsible restart of a sector upon which many millions of businesses and jobs depend.”
Testing and quarantine
The report shows a growing trend in international destinations “adopting a more nuanced, evidence and risk-based approach” to coronavirus linked travel restrictions, said the UN agency in its news release on the report.