Source: ICF Monitor

The latest impact figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that international tourist arrivals declined 70% in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, amid continuing travel restrictions that have closed borders around the world during the pandemic.

UNWTO Secretary-General said “This underlines the urgent need to safely restart tourism, in a timely and coordinated manner”.

Interestingly, there have been signs of tourism demand shifting to domestic travel in at least some major world markets over the last couple of months. In Russia, for example, domestic air bookings fully recovered to levels of 2019 and actually grew by 9% in August.

With a more complete picture of the true extent of COVID’s impact on global travel, the question is increasingly when the industry can expect to begin to recover.

Based on projections by its Panel of Tourism Experts, UNWTO anticipates that the recovery in global tourism will begin in the third quarter of 2021. At least, that is the point at which a majority of the panel expects that recovery will be underway.