Hotel Biz Link – Global Hotel Business Magazine

The Global News Source of Hotel & Lodging Industry

International Tourism Back To 60% Of Pre-Pandemic Levels For January-July 2022

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism continues to recover steadily, yet several challenges remain, from geopolitical to economic."

International Tourism Back To 60% Of Pre-Pandemic Levels For January-July 2022

According to the most recent UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, foreign visitor arrivals nearly tripled (+172%) between January and July 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. This indicates that the industry has regained over 60% of its pre-pandemic levels. The gradual rebound shows both considerable pent-up demand for foreign travel and the relaxing or removal of travel restrictions.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism continues to recover steadily, yet several challenges remain, from geopolitical to economic. The sector is bringing back hope and opportunity for people everywhere. Now is also the time to rethink tourism, where it is going, and how it impacts people and the planet.”

Over the same time, an anticipated 474 million visitors visited worldwide, compared to 175 million in the same months of 2021. In June and July 2022, an anticipated 207 million foreign arrivals were registered, more than double the amount observed in the same two months the previous year. These months account for 44% of all arrivals in the first seven months of 2022. Europe accepted 309 million of these arrivals, accounting for 65% of the total.

International Tourist Arrivals In Europe And The Middle East Lead Recovery:

In January-July 2022, Europe and the Middle East had the quickest rebound, with arrivals reaching 74% and 76% of 2019 levels, respectively. Europe saw over three times as many foreign arrivals (+190%) in the first seven months of 2021, bolstered by robust intra-regional demand and travel from the United States. The region performed particularly well in June (-21% over 2019) and July (-16%), suggesting a busy summertime. In July, arrivals increased to almost 85% of 2019 levels. The relaxation of travel restrictions in several places also contributed to these developments.

International arrivals in the Middle East increased about a fourfold year on year from January to July 2022 (+287%). Arrivals topped pre-pandemic levels (+3%) in July, buoyed by Saudi Arabia’s outstanding performance (+121%) during the Hajj pilgrimage.

The Americas (+103%) and Africa (+171%) also had a significant increase from January to July 2022 compared to 2021, reaching 65% and 60% of 2019 levels, respectively. Arrivals in Asia and the Pacific (+165%) more than doubled in the first seven months of 2022, yet they remained 86% lower than in 2019, as certain borders remained closed to non-essential travel.

In January-July 2022, some subregions reached 70% to 85% of their pre-pandemic arrivals. Southern Mediterranean Europe (-15%), the Caribbean (-18%), and Central America (-20%) recovered the fastest from 2019 levels. Western Europe (-26%) and Northern Europe (-27%) also fared well. Arrivals in the Caribbean (-5%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (-6%), and Central America (-8%) were close to pre-pandemic levels in July.

Tourism Is Rising But Challenges Continue:

Outbound tourist expenditure from major source markets is also showing signs of revival. In January-July 2022, French expenditure increased by -12% compared to 2019, while German spending increased by -14%. International tourist spending in Italy was -23%, while it was -26% in the United States. According to IATA, international passenger air traffic increased by 234% from January to July 2022 (45% below 2019 levels) and recovered to around 70% of pre-pandemic levels in July.

Stronger-than-expected demand has also posed significant operational and manpower issues for tourist businesses and infrastructure, notably airports. Furthermore, the economic position, which has been aggravated by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, constitutes a significant negative risk. The combination of rising interest rates in all major nations, rising energy and food costs, and the World Bank’s growth forecast of a worldwide recession are key dangers to the recovery of international tourism in 2022 and 2023. The current UNWTO Confidence Index, which displays a more cautious perspective, as well as booking patterns, which show hints of slower growth, indicate a probable downturn.

Tourism Experts Cautiously Confident:

The UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts assessed the period May-August 2022 with a score of 125 on a scale of 0 to 200, mirroring the Panel’s high forecasts indicated in the May poll for the same four-month period (124).

The outlook for the rest of the year is cautiously hopeful. Although above-average performance is projected, tourism experts assigned a score of 111 to the period September-December 2022, down from the previous four months’ score of 125, indicating a decrease in confidence levels. Almost half of the experts (47%) anticipate optimistic possibilities from September to December 2022, while 24% see no change and 28% believe it might be worse. Experts are similarly optimistic about 2023, with 65% expecting greater tourist performance than in 2022.

Despite this, the uncertain business situation appears to have reversed chances for a return to pre-pandemic levels in the short future. Some 61% of experts now anticipate a return to pre-pandemic levels of foreign arrivals in 2024 or later, while those predicting a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 have decreased (27%) compared to the May study (48%). According to analysts, the economic climate is still the most important element influencing the recovery of foreign tourism. Rising inflation and an increase in oil prices raise transportation and lodging expenses while reducing consumer buying power and savings.