According to the most recent UNWTO data, arrival numbers between January and July 2023 achieved 84% of pre-pandemic levels, indicating that international tourism has continued to recover from the worst catastrophe in its history. Africa, Europe, and the Middle East are driving the worldwide sector’s recovery.
Travel Is Forecast to Completely Recover
The demand for travel remains remarkably resilient and has been recovering steadily despite economic and geopolitical obstacles. The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer’s most recent edition follows the industry’s comeback through the end of July 2023. As per the UNWTO Barometer,
International visitor arrivals by the end of July were 84% of pre-pandemic levels.
Between January and July of 2023, 700 million visitors traveled abroad, a 43% increase over the same period in 2022.
With 145 million foreign travelers registered in July—roughly 20% of the total—it was the busiest month of the seven-month period.
Data from the UNWTO once again demonstrates how tourism is rapidly rebounding globally. However, as our industry heals, it must also change.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stated: “Data from the UNWTO demonstrates once more how tourism is rapidly rebounding around the globe. However, our industry must also change as it recovers. We need to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient industry. To do this, we must consider the extreme weather events we’ve seen and the challenges of managing growing tourist flows. It’s important that recovery and rethinking our sector go together.
Outcomes by Area
Demand from a number of significant source markets for international travel helped tourism recover strongly over the first seven months of 2023 in all parts of the world:
The biggest outcomes were recorded in the Middle East, where arrivals were 20% higher than before the epidemic from January to July 2023. The area is still the only one that has so far surpassed 2019 levels.
With the help of strong intraregional demand and travel from the United States, Europe, the largest destination region in the world, recovered to 91% of pre-pandemic levels.
Africa recovered 92% of its pre-crisis visitors in seven months. The Americas regained 87%.
After many places opened up in 2022, Asia and the Pacific saw a 61% recovery in visitor numbers compared to before the pandemic.
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer provides data by country, region, and sub-region. It also lists the top destinations for foreign arrivals and receipts over the first seven months of the year.
According to these findings, foreign travel is still expected to reach between 80% and 95% of pre-pandemic levels by 2023. The most recent UNWTO Confidence Index shows that September-December 2023 is expected to have a slower recovery after the busy travel season of June-August. The demand for travel is high, especially in Asia and the Pacific where recovery is slow. This will drive the outcomes.
Travel within the area and to other parts of the world is predicted to increase as a result of the reopening of China and other Asian markets and destinations.
UNWTO’s Panel of Experts states that a difficult economic climate will remain a significant factor in the successful recovery of international travel in 2023.
The cost of transportation and lodging has increased due to ongoing inflation and rising oil prices. Travelers’ purchasing habits may change for the rest of the year. They will travel locally, for shorter periods, and search for the best deals.