A third of the world is closed

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Latest data released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that one in three destinations worldwide are now completely closed to international tourism.

The organisation says this is due to the emergence of new variants of the COVID-19 virus, which has prompted governments to reverse the trend towards the easing of travel restrictions. The report says total closures to tourists are most prevalent in Asia Pacific and Europe.

The report covers an overview of the regulations present in 217 destinations across the globe and the data shows that the persistent seriousness of the epidemiological situation has made governments more cautious than previously.

At the start of February 2021, 32% of all destinations worldwide (69 destinations) were completely closed (half of them have been closed for minimum 40 weeks) while 34% were partially closed to international tourism.

UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Polilikashvili says we must now recognise that travel restrictions are just one part of the solution. “Their use 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 on which many millions of businesses and jobs depend.”

UNWTO research shows a trend towards a more nuanced, evidence- and risk-based approach, with growing numbers of destinations now requiring international tourists to carry a negative
PCR or Antigen test certificate on arrival; 32% of destinations now have this requirement.

Analysis of the top ten tourism source markets currently advising their citizens against non-essential travel abroad, showed that they were responsible for 44% of international arrivals in 2018. The UNWTO noted that the advice issued by governments would play a vital role in the restart and recovery of tourism.

Original Article Posted on SA Travel News