As a result of the relaxation of travel restrictions, particularly in China, international visitor numbers more than doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year and should resemble pre-pandemic levels in 2023, according to the UN’s tourism organisation.
The World Tourism Organization, which has its headquarters in Madrid, reported that there were 917 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2018, an increase from 455 million in 2021.
Even though it was still only 63% of the level recorded in 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the UN organisation predicts that by 2023, the number of international arrivals might climb by 80 to 95%.
‘Looking ahead, international tourism is set to consolidate its recovery in 2023, backed by pent-up demand, particularly from Asia and the Pacific as destinations and markets open up,’ the report said.
The number of visitors to Europe, the most popular travel destination in the world, reached 585 million last year, or over 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
However, due to tighter pandemic-related restrictions, the Pacific area only achieved 23 per cent of pre-pandemic visitation levels while Africa and the Americas only reached roughly 65 per cent.