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International travel fell 65% in the first half, it may take four years to recover, says UN tourism body

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MADRID (Reuters) – International tourist arrivals fell 65% in the first half of 2020 compared to last year, data from the World Tourism Organization showed on Tuesday, translating into an estimated loss of $ 460 billion in revenue. of export.

Slightly more than half of the destinations eased travel restrictions in early September, but a return to tourism levels in 2019 could take between two to four years, according to the Madrid-based United Nations tourism authority.

Safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world and it is imperative that governments work closely with the private sector to revitalize global tourism, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

A total of 440 million international arrivals were lost between January and June this year, with Asia and the Pacific the region hardest hit with 72% fewer tourists than last year.

Europe saw a 66% drop in arrivals, compared to a 57% drop in Africa and the Middle East and 55% in the Americas.

Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Edited by Ingrid Melander

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