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Global Tourism Off A Strong Start in 2022, But May Face New Challenges

Explosive Growth in International Travel in January 2022

Global Tourism Off A Strong Start in 2022, But May Face New Challenges

According to the most recent World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) statistics, worldwide foreign visitors in January 2022 grew by 130% over the same month the previous year. The worldwide market had 18 million additional visitors in the first month of 2022.

Even though the worldwide foreign visitors have increased dramatically since last year, they are still 67% lower than pre-pandemic levels. According to the UNWTO, this is happening because many nations still have travel regulations and other limitations in place.

“While these figures confirm the positive trend already underway last year, the pace of recovery in January was impacted by the emergences of the Omicron variant and the re-introduction of travel restrictions in several destinations. Following the 71% decline of 2021, international arrivals in January 2022 remained 67% below pre-pandemic levels,” the statement of UNWTO reads.

Regarding the global performance, it has been revealed that Europe (+199%) and the Americas (+97%) continued to post the strongest results. The Middle East (+89%) and Africa (+51%) also saw growth in January 2022 over January 2021.

Western Europe had the best performance across all subregions. Western Europe had four times as many visitors in January 2022 as it did in 2021, but still 58% less than in 2019.

Furthermore, some Caribbean, Asian, and Pacific islands, as well as certain European and Central American destinations, outperformed in comparison to 2019.

The UNWTO has analyzed the chances for recovery. The protracted conflict in Ukraine poses a challenge to the global economy and impedes the restoration of trust in global travel.

Even though it is too early to estimate the impact of the Ukrainian conflict on global international tourism, reservations and air travel searches across many channels revealed a slowdown at the end of February. Nonetheless, bookings have begun to rise again since the situation in the rest of Europe remains secure.