International tourism is projected to reach 65 % of pre-epidemic levels by the end of 2022, as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic. Between January and September of this year, a projected 700 million visitors went abroad, more than 133 % more than the same time in 2021.
This translates to 63% of 2019 levels and puts the industry on track to achieve 65% of its pre-pandemic levels this year, in accordance with UNWTO projections. Strong pent-up demand, increased levels of confidence, and the removal of limitations in a growing number of locations all contributed to the improvement in financial performance.
The newest World Tourism Barometer from UNWTO reports that monthly arrivals were 64% below 2019 levels in January 2022 and had reached -28% by September, highlighting the speed with which the industry has recovered from the greatest crisis in its history.
Alone in the third quarter of 2022, an estimated 340 million overseas arrivals were registered, accounting for almost half of the number for the whole year.
At Or Above Pre-Pandemic Levels For Arrivals And Receipts:
From January to September 2022, several subregions attained 80 to 90 % of their pre-pandemic arrivals. Western Europe (88%) and Southern Mediterranean Europe (86%) had the quickest rebound to 2019 levels. The Caribbean (82%), Central America (82%), and Northern Europe (81%) all showed impressive outcomes.
In September, arrivals reached pre-pandemic levels in the Middle East (+3% over 2019) and the Caribbean (+1%) and came near Central America (-7%) and Northern, Southern, and Mediterranean Europe (-10%). Some locations, like France, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Latvia, Portugal, Pakistan, Mexico, and Morocco, had significant gains in international tourism revenues during the first seven to nine months of 2022.
Europe Continues To Drive The Global Economic Recovery:
Europe received 477 million overseas visitors between January and September of 2022, accounting for 68% of the global total and reaching 81% of pre-pandemic levels.
This was more than twice that of 2021 (+126%), with significant intraregional demand and travel from the United States contributing to the increase. Europe saw a particularly solid performance in the third quarter, with arrivals reaching over 90 % of 2019 levels. During the same period, foreign arrivals in the Middle East tripled (+225%) from January to September 2022 to reach 77% of pre-pandemic levels. Africa (+166%) and the Americas (+106%) also had substantial increases relative to 2021, reaching 63% and 66% of 2019’s levels, respectively.
In Asia and the Pacific, (+230%) arrivals more than tripled in the first nine months of 2022, as a result of the launch of several new destinations, notably Japan at the end of September. Nevertheless, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific remained 83 % below 2019 levels. China, a crucial supply market for the area, is now closed.
Optimism With Caution Over The Next Months:
The adverse economic climate, including consistently high inflation and skyrocketing energy costs, exacerbated by the Russian incursion in Ukraine, might impact on the speed of economic recovery in the fourth quarter and into 2023.
The most recent study conducted by the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts reveals a decline in confidence levels for the last four months of 2022, indicating cautious optimism. Tourism export sales might reach USD 1.2 to USD 1.3 trillion in 2022, a 60-70 % gain over 2021, or 70-80 % of the USD 1.8 trillion achieved in 2019, despite mounting hurdles that hint at a slowing recovery.