All the World’s Destinations Restrict Travel, 72% Close Borders

The entire world is on a travel lockdown with the Covid-19 pandemic as 100 percent of global destinations have travel restrictions in place and 72 percent have completely closed their borders to international visitors, according to new research from the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The WTO said of the 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72 percent) have placed a complete stop on international tourism, according to data collected as of April 27, 2020.

In 25 percent of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40 percent restrictions were introduced at least two months ago. Most importantly, the research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.

“Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries lock down and people stay at home,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a May 11 press release. “UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”

The UNWTO research tracks measures taken since the end of January, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 to be a public health emergency of international concern.

Breaking the research down by region, UNWTO has found that 83 percent of European destinations have completely closed borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80 percent; in Asia and the Pacific it is 70 percent. It is 62 percent in the Middle East and 57 percent in Africa.

UNWTO has been working with international organizations, national governments and the private sector to support the responsible and timely recovery of tourism. Within the past two weeks, Pololikashvili has addressed ministers of the G20 and the EU Commission, making the case for tourism to be a priority as countries look to recover from the crisis.

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