The UNWTO remains optimistic about the restoration of international travel, although the date for a full recovery is pushed further and further – at the moment we are talking about 2025. Recovery depends on many factors, not least the situation with the Russian special operation. In this case, the recovery will be uneven. Such data was announced to the Egyptian media by Al-Batuti, an economic adviser to the UNWTO, a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and a member of the board of the German Tourism Association.
To begin with, we note that he encouraged Egypt by saying that the country will attract about 7.5 million tourists this year. And not at the expense of Russia: he predicts, in particular, that the volume of German tourism to the Land of the Pyramids will increase by about 30-35% compared to last year, and this partly compensates for the loss in tourism from the Russian and Ukrainian markets.
< p>In general, the forecast is this: this year the global tourist traffic will reach 68% of the level that existed before COVID-19. This figure is expected to increase to 82% in 2023, then to 97% in 2024, and not fully recover until 2025 with an expected influx of 1.5 billion international tourists. Moreover, in some countries, the pace of recovery will be faster than in others.
Thus, international travel from North America showed an improvement already in 2021 and increased by 15% compared to the same period last year. The US became the largest outbound travel market in the world in 2021. In 2022, the number of flights departing from North America will reach 69% of the level of 2019, and in 2024 they were predicted to fully recover.
In Europe, as Al-Batuti assured, the number of international flights will reach 69% of the 2019 figures. But mostly it will be trips over short distances. And even in 2025, the expert promises Europe only 98% of the level of 2019 – and then if the fuel and economic crisis is kept within the framework, and the special operation “does not spread beyond Ukraine.” “Russia was the fifth largest outbound travel market in the world in 2019, while Ukraine ranked twelfth. From now on, limited outbound travel from these countries will hinder the recovery of tourism in Europe as a whole,” the expert added.
In the Asia-Pacific region, he also forecasts a delay in recovery, with the number of flights departing the region in 2022 reaching only 67% of 2019 levels due to the relatively slow lifting of travel restrictions and the trend to update local rules during outbreaks of COVID-19. Here, the main culprit is expectedly China, which was once the largest outbound travel market in the region and the world, but shows no signs of easing its strict border measures in the short term.
“Total international travel will recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, but as there are several long-term shifts and short-term trends, tourism demand could look very different,” Al-Batuti concluded.
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