World Tourism Day: International officials radiate optimism while tourism itself is on the brink

World Tourism Day: International officials exude optimism while tourism itself stands on edge of the abyss

Estimates of tourism officials from the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), announced for World Tourism Day, which will be celebrated today, September 27, are quite optimistic – according to their data, at the moment tourism has recovered by almost 60% from the pre-pandemic level, and there is ” cautious” forecasts for a further recovery, despite geopolitical and economic problems. True, experts from the economy are already predicting such an unprecedented level of these problems that everyone in the world may not be up to tourism.

So far, international tourist arrivals nearly tripled in January-July 2022, up 172% from the same period in 2021, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This means that the tourism sector recovered by 57% from pre-pandemic levels in the first seven months of 2022 alone. This “sustainable recovery” reflects “heavy pent-up demand for international travel,” experts say, and has been helped by the massive lifting of travel restrictions to date. As of September 19, 2022, 86 countries no longer have COVID-19 related restrictions.

“Tourism continues to steadily recover, but several problems remain, from geopolitical to economic,” UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili commented on these figures. He added that the statistics are as follows: 474 million tourists traveled around the world during this period, compared to 175 million in the same months of 2021. In June and July 2022, 207 million international arrivals were registered, twice as many as in the same two months last year. Moreover, Europe “got” 309 million of these arrivals, which is 65% of the total

Overall, Europe and the Middle East showed the fastest recovery in January-July 2022, with arrivals reaching 74% and 76% of 2019 levels, respectively. Europe showed growth of 190%, this is mainly due to strong intra-regional demand and travel from the United States. At the same time, as of September 19, 2022, 44 countries in Europe had no COVID-19-related restrictions.

In the Middle East, growth is even more significant – almost four times year on year or +287%. North and South America (+103%) and Africa (+171%) are also recovering. In Asia-Pacific (+165%), arrivals more than doubled in the first seven months of 2022, but they remain 86% below 2019 levels as some countries have not reopened.

At the same time, as UNWTO experts add, “tourism costs are growing, but problems are also growing.” Tourism spending in France is only 12% behind pre-Covid times, in the US it is 26%. At the same time, higher-than-expected demand has also created serious operational and personnel problems in tourism companies and infrastructure, especially at airports, officials add.

The economic situation, exacerbated by the political conflict between Russia on the one hand and the US and the EU on the other, was also named among the main problems. “The combination of interest rate hikes in all major economies, rising energy and food prices, and growing prospects of a global recession, as indicated by the World Bank, are the main threats to the recovery of international tourism until the end of 2022 and 2023,” the UNWTO said.

However, many well-known economists give extremely pessimistic forecasts, and so much so that the majority of the world's population may not be interested in tourism at all in the near future. So, according to these forecasts, the world is on the verge of a new Great Depression. Such a forecast was voiced by the “doctor of disaster”, economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis of 2008. According to the economist, he expects a hard landing in the US economy and a “long and ugly” recession that will last throughout 2023. As rates rise and debt settlement costs rise, “many zombie institutions, zombie households, corporations, banks, shadow banks and zombie countries will die,” he said. According to his forecasts, interest rates will rise by 4-4.25 percent at the end of the year. Stagflation and a major debt crisis are expected throughout 2023. “There will not be a short and shallow recession, it will be a severe, long and ugly one. The recession in the United States and the world will continue at least through 2023,” the Doctor of Disaster summed up. Read the details at this link.

For those who care about a healthy lifestyle, we recommend reading: “A warning about a fatal complication has been announced for everyone who had covid last year.”

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