The World Tourism Organization ofTo the United Nations An optimistic announcement today, Friday, in which it expected a full recovery of global tourism in 2024 from the impact of the Corona pandemic. Despite ongoing international tensions, especially in the Middle East, the organization expects the number of international tourists to slightly exceed pre-pandemic levels.
The United Nations agency, based in Madrid, stated in a statement that 1.3 billion tourists traveled abroad in 2023, which represents a significant increase of 44% compared to 2022. This number represents 88% of the levels of 2019, that is, the year Previous to the pandemic.
The recovery was remarkably strong in the Middle East, where the number of tourist arrivals exceeded 2019 levels by 22%, while Europe witnessed tourism activity reaching 94% of its pre-pandemic level, which contributed more to the overall recovery, according to the organization’s statistics.
However, the recovery in Asia has been more moderate, with international tourist numbers reaching 65% of 2019 levels, despite China lifting health restrictions a year ago. The World Tourism Organization attributed this weak recovery to various factors.
In his statement, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, expressed his optimism, saying that the World Tourism Organization highlights the ability of tourism to resist and its rapid recovery. The organization expects that 2024 will witness activity levels 2% higher than those in 2019.
The expected recovery is fueled by increased tourism in China, facilitated by the easing of visa restrictions for several countries, including France, Germany and Italy. However, concerns loom over potential disruptions caused by economic and geopolitical risks, particularly in the Middle East, where the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza is expected to impact the tourism sector.
The UNWTO warned that persistent inflation, high interest rates, volatile oil prices and resulting trade disruptions could continue to impact transportation and accommodation costs in 2024.
The organization stated in a related report that the contribution of global tourism to the global economy in 2023 amounted to about $3.3 trillion. The outlook for 2024 remains optimistic, as the organization expects a 2% increase in the number of international tourists compared to 2019, which indicates a promising year for the global tourism industry.