The global economy is highly interconnected, and countries that remove restrictions on international travellers benefit in terms of economic growth, job creation, cultural exchange, and environmental conservation.
As growing numbers of countries around the world ease restrictions on travel, tourism is a big beneficiary, UN’s specialised agency – United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says.
A recent report by UNWTO indicates international tourism recovers from the worst crisis in history as visitor arrivals reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels between January and July this year.
Currently, some 197 countries are without any Covid-19 travel restrictions and they represent 89% of all countries in the world.
By the end of July, international tourist arrivals reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels.
Some 700mn tourists travelled internationally between January and July 2023, 43% more than in the same months of 2022.
Data reveal that July of this year was the busiest month, with 145mn international travellers recorded, about 20% of the seven-month total.
All regions of the world enjoyed strong rates of tourism recovery over the first seven months of this year, driven by demand for international travel from several large source markets:
As Gulf Times reported recently, the Middle East, GCC countries in particular, reported the best results in January-July this year, with arrivals 20% above pre-pandemic levels. The region remains the only one to exceed 2019 levels so far.
If the current trend continues, industry experts say 2023 would see a remarkable recovery in tourism and global travel.
UNWTO figures point to international tourism remaining well on track to reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels by the year-end.
Prospects for the last quarter of the year point to continued recovery, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index, though at a more moderate pace following the peak travel season of June-August.
These results will be driven by the still pent-up demand and increased air connectivity, particularly in the Pacific region, where recovery is still subdued.
In addition to overall economic growth, the global economy benefits from countries removing restrictions on international travellers in several ways such as boosting tourism and hospitality industry, job creation, cultural exchange and understanding, spurring infrastructure development and encouraging investment.
A country that is seen as open and welcoming to international visitors is often perceived as being more open to foreign investment. This, obviously leads to increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in various sectors.
Tourism is undoubtedly a significant contributor to a country’s GDP. When international travellers visit a country, they spend money on various goods and services, which directly contributes to economic growth.
Opening borders allows for an influx of international tourists, which benefits the hospitality, tourism, and related industries. This leads to increased spending on accommodation, food, transportation, and various other services.
The tourism and hospitality sector is a major employer in many countries. By attracting international travellers, countries create jobs in hotels, restaurants, transportation, tour guiding, and other related sectors.
To accommodate the influx of international travellers, countries invariably invest in improving their transportation systems, airports, and other related infrastructure.
This not only benefits the tourism sector but also improves overall connectivity and accessibility.
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