Int’l tourism reaches 97 pc of pre-Covid levels in 1st quarter of 2024

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Madrid, May 22 (IANS) International tourist arrivals surged to 97 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2024, with projections indicating that numbers are expected to exceed those of 2019 over the rest of the year, the UN Tourism reported.

The Madrid-based organisation’s report shows that 285 million tourists made international trips between January and March, marking an increase of around 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2023. UN Tourism anticipates a “full recovery of international tourism” or the rest of the year, “with arrivals growing two per cent above 2019 levels”.

International arrivals in the Asia and Pacific region saw a significant rise, from 65 per cent of 2019 levels in the first quarter of 2023 to 82 per cent in the first three months of this year, Xinhua news agency reported.

There was also strong growth in the Middle East where international tourism was 36 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels while Europe received 120 million international tourists, also representing a one per cent rise from that of 2019.

Africa saw a five per cent increase compared with the same period in 2023 while international tourism in the Americas reached 99 per cent of 2019 levels.

Welcoming the results, Secretary General of UN Tourism Zurab Pololikashvili highlighted their positive impact on local economies.

“The recovery of the sector is very welcome news for our economies and the livelihoods of millions,” he said while stressing the need to “advance sustainability and inclusion while addressing the externalities and impact of the sector on resources and communities”.

Total export revenues from international tourism, including both receipts and passenger transport, reached $1.7 trillion in 2023, about 96 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Tourism direct GDP recovered pre-pandemic levels, reaching an estimated $3.3 trillion in 2023, equivalent to three per cent of global GDP.



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