Research by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released on 28 April 2020 reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in all destinations around the world introducing travel restrictions. This is the most severe scenario of restrictions in the history of international travel.

Of the destinations UNWTO researched, 83% have had COVID-19-related restrictions in place for four or more weeks and, as of 20 April, no destination had as of yet lifted them.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “Tourism has shown its commitment to putting people first. Our sector can also lead the way in driving recovery. This research on global travel restrictions will help support the timely and responsible implementation of exit strategies, allowing destinations to ease or lift travel restrictions when it is safe to do so. This way, the social and economic benefits that tourism offers can return, providing a path to sustainable recovery for both individuals and whole countries.”

“This research on global travel restrictions will help support the timely and responsible implementation of exit strategies, allowing destinations to ease or lift travel restrictions when it is safe to do so. This way, the social and economic benefits that tourism offers can return, providing a path to sustainable recovery for both individuals and whole countries.”

Tourism carries a range of social and economic benefits, that will be critical in supporting a path to sustainable recovery for both individuals and whole countries.

As well as a general overview, the UNWTO research breaks down the type of travel restrictions that have been introduced across the global, and plots the evolution of these restrictions since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January.

UNWTO’s latest analysis shows that, of 217 destinations worldwide:

  • 45% have totally or partially closed their borders for tourists – “Passengers are not allowed to enter”;
  • 30% have suspended totally or partially international flights – “all flights are suspended”;
  • 18% are banning the entry for passengers from specific countries of origin, or passengers who have transited through specific destinations;
  • 7% are applying different measures, such as quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days and visa measures.

UNWTO has been urging governments worldwide to commit to supporting tourism through this unprecedented challenge. According to Secretary-General Pololikashvili, the abrupt fall in tourism demand caused by COVID-19 places millions of jobs and livelihoods at risk, and jeopardises the recent advances the industry has made to promote sustainable development and equality.

Click here to download the full report.