UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

While 100% of all tourism destinations worldwide continue to have some form of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in place, the world is slowly opening up again, according to the latest research report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The organisation has been monitoring the global response to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with the fourth edition of its ‘COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism’ report, showing that seven destinations have eased travel restrictions for international tourism purposes.

At the same time, several more destinations are engaged in significant discussions about the reopening of borders.

Furthermore, as of May 18, 75% continued to have their borders completely closed for international tourism. In 37% of all cases, travel restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24% of global destinations have had restrictions in place for 14 weeks or more.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way.”

He also welcomed the growing confidence in the global tourism sector, noting that it was ready to return to growth.

Looking into global travel restrictions more closely, the UNWTO research shows that, the more important tourism is to the economies of individual destinations, the more likely they are to have introduced complete border closures.

All UNWTO regions have more than 65% of their destinations completely closed to tourism: Africa (74%), Americas (86%), Asia and the Pacific (67%), Europe (74%) and the Middle East (69%).

The ‘COVID-19-Related Travel Restrictions’ report also breaks down the level and type of travel restrictions in place, including prevalence of flight suspensions and measures including compulsory self-isolation and quarantine of tourist arrivals. The full report can be accessed here.