Some respite in 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
The highly contagious Omicron variant, though mild, will 'disrupt the recovery' in early 2022 after the last year witnessed four per cent growth over 2020, the World Tourism Organisation said
With countries battered by Omicron and Deltra variants of Coronavirus, a UN agency has said that tourism arrivals around the world are not expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
The highly contagious Omicron variant, though mild, will “disrupt the recovery” in early 2022 after the last year witnessed four per cent growth over 2020, the World Tourism Organisation said.
“The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveller confidence,” the UNWTO said in a press release.
The Madrid-based UN agency, however, pointed out that the tourism industry might “see better prospects" for this year after restrictions in the early months due to the Omicron wave.
The agency predicts a 30 to 78 per cent rise in international arrivals this year over 2021, while remaining far below 2019 levels.
In 2021, some countries reported a marginal rise in passenger arrivals. In Europe and the Americas, foreign visitor arrivals surged by 19 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, last year over 2020.
In the Middle East, however, arrivals declined by 24 per cent in 2021, while in the Asia-Pacific region they were 65 per cent below 2020 levels, and 94 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels.
“The economic contribution of tourism in 2021 (measured in tourism direct gross domestic product) is estimated at $1.9 trillion, above the $1.6 trillion in 2020, but still well below the pre-pandemic value of $3.5 trillion,” the statement noted.
(With inputs from agencies)