Int'l tourism reaches 97 pct of pre-COVID levels in first quarter of 2024

# 22 May 2024 03:27 (UTC +04:00)

International tourist arrivals surged to 97 percent 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 on Tuesday, APA reports.

The Madrid-based organization's report shows that 285 million tourists made international trips between January and March, marking an increase of around 20 percent 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 2 percent above 2019 levels."

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

There was also a strong growth in the Middle East where international tourism was 36 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels while Europe received 120 million international tourists, also representing 1 percent rise from that of 2019.

Africa saw a 5 percent increase compared with the same period in 2023 while international tourism in the Americas reached 99 percent 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 U.S. dollars in 2023, about 96 percent of pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Tourism direct GDP recovered pre-pandemic levels, reaching an estimated 3.3 trillion dollars in 2023, equivalent to 3 percent of global GDP.

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