Following a stronger-than-expected rebound in 2022, international tourism arrivals in Europe and the Middle East are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year. Global international tourist arrivals might reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels by 2023, depending on the depth of the economic downturn, the continuous recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific, and the progress of Russia’s incursion in Ukraine, among other issues.
According to recent UNWTO statistics, more than 900 million travelers will travel globally in 2022, more than doubling the amount reported in 2021 but remaining at 63% of pre-pandemic levels. International tourist numbers increased significantly in every worldwide area.
The Middle East had the greatest relative rise, with arrivals reaching 83% of pre-pandemic levels. With 585 million arrivals in 2022, Europe will have achieved over 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Africa and the Americas both recovered roughly 65% of their pre-pandemic visits, but Asia and the Pacific only recovered 23%, owing to stricter pandemic-related restrictions that were just recently lifted.
The inaugural UNWTO World Tourism Barometer for 2023 also examines regional performance and top performers in 2022, including numerous locations that have already recovered from 2019 levels.
The most recent UNWTO Confidence Index shows cautious optimism for the period January-April, which is greater than the same time in 2022. This confidence is supported by Asia’s opening up and robust spending statistics in 2022 from both conventional and growing tourist source economies, including France, Germany, and Italy, as well as Qatar, India, and Saudi Arabia.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty. Economic factors may influence how people travel in 2023 and UNWTO expects demand for domestic and regional travel to remain strong and help drive the sector’s wider recovery.”