The global vaccination rollout and increased adoption of digital solutions for safe travel should boost international mobility over the weeks and months ahead, according to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data released today, July 5.
Significantly, 70 percent of all destinations in Asia and the Pacific are still completely closed, compared with just 13% in Europe, as well as 20% in the Americas, 19% in Africa and 31% in the Middle East.
The UNWTO data linked vaccination speed with easing of restrictions.
Destinations with the strictest measures have some of the lowest rates of vaccination.
In contrast, destinations with higher vaccination rates, with harmonized rules and protocols, such as those in the Schengen area of the European Union, are better-placed to allow tourism to return.
As of June 1, 29 percent of all destinations worldwide have their borders completely closed to international tourism, according to the newest edition of the agency’s Travel Restrictions Report.
Of these, more than half have been completely closed to tourists since May 2020 or longer.
Most of these belong to the Small Island Development States of Asia and the Pacific.
In comparison, just three destinations (Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic) are completely open to tourists, with no restrictions now in place.
One in three, or 34%, of all destinations are partially closed, and 36% request a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, in some cases in combination with a requirement to quarantine.
The data confirms the trend towards destinations adopting more nuanced, evidence-and-risk-based approaches to restrictions on travel, as new variants of the virus emerged.
Indeed, 42% of all destinations have introduced specific restrictions for visitors from destinations with variants of concern ranging from the suspension of flights and closing of borders to compulsory quarantine.
“Governments are instrumental for the restart and recovery of tourism through collaboration, use of data and digital solutions”, stressed UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
Regional differences with regards to travel restrictions remain.
Assessing current requirements for vaccinated passengers, 17% of all destinations worldwide specifically mention vaccinated passengers in their regulations.
In most cases, travel restrictions continue to apply to fully vaccinated passengers (who have received two doses of an approved vaccine), though in others, all restrictions are lifted.
The UNWTO expects that this will significantly evolve over the coming weeks.
Howevet, the report indicates that the restart of global tourism will remain muted so long as governments continue to advise caution.
Four of the 10 top source markets keep advising their citizens against non-essential travel abroad (these four generated 25% of all international arrivals in 2018).
The UNWTO, a United Nations specialized agency, promotes the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues for its 159 member countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.

Source: Manila Bulletin (