UNWTO Outlines Two Scenarios for Possible Travel Rebound in 2021

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Wednesday outlined two scenarios for 2021, which consider a possible rebound in international travel in the second half of the year.

The organization gave its outlook following the release of the latest edition of its World Tourism Barometer, which showed that the devastating impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on global tourism has carried on into 2021 as all world regions continued to experience large drops in tourist arrivals in the first month of the year.

According to the barometer, international tourist arrivals in January recorded an 87 percent fall as compared to 2020.

“Mandatory testing, quarantines, and in some cases the complete closure of borders, have all hindered the resumption of international travel. In addition, the speed and distribution of the vaccination roll-out have been slower than expected, further delaying the restart of tourism,” the organization said.

Travel rebound scenarios

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

The UNWTO’s scenarios for a rebound in travel are based on a number of factors, most notably a major lifting of travel restrictions, the success of vaccination programmes or the introduction of harmonized protocols such as the Digital Green Certificate planned by the European Commission.

The first scenario points to a rebound in July, which would result in a 66 percent increase in international arrivals for the year 2021 compared to the historic lows of 2020. In this case, arrivals would still be 55 percent below the levels recorded in 2019.

The second scenario considers a potential rebound in September, leading to a 22 percent increase in arrivals compared to last year, which would be 67 percent below the levels of 2019.

“The outlook for the rest of the year remains cautious as the UNWTO continues to call for stronger coordination on travel protocols between countries to ensure the safe restart of tourism and avoid another year of massive losses for the sector,” the organization said.