Asia Pacific tourism numbers still down by 93% on 2019 levels


Global tourism is continuing to recover at a strong pace as restrictions drop with destinations welcoming almost three times as many international arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 as in the same period of 2021.

International tourism saw a 182 per cent year-on-year increase in January-March 2022, with Europe leading the sector’s rebound, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

UNWTO data shows that during the first quarter of 2022, Europe welcomed almost four times as many international arrivals (+280%) as in Q1 of 2021, with results driven by strong intra-regional demand.

In the Americas arrivals more than doubled (+117%) in the same three months. However, arrivals in Europe and the Americas were still 43 per cent and 46 per cent below 2019 levels respectively.

Asia and the Pacific recorded a 64 per cent increase over 2021 but levels were 93 per cent below 2019 numbers as several destinations remained closed to non-essential travel.

The Middle East (+132%) and Africa (+96%) also saw strong growth in Q1 2022 compared to 2021, but arrivals remained 59 per cent and 61 per cent below 2019 levels respectively.

Although international tourism remains 61 per cent below 2019 levels, the gradual recovery is expected to continue throughout 2022, as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions and pent-up demand is unleashed.

As of 2 June, 45 destinations (of which 31 are in Europe) had no Covid-19 related restrictions in place. In Asia, an increasing number of destinations have also started to ease those restrictions.

The Russian offensive on Ukraine seems to have had a limited direct impact on overall results so far, although it is disrupting travel in Eastern Europe.

However, the conflict is having major economic repercussions globally, driving up already high oil prices which results in higher transport and accommodation costs for the tourism sector.