International tourism reaches 63% of pre-pandemic level in January-September

Some 700M tourists travels internationally in first 9 months of this year, UN agency data shows

International tourism reached 63% of its pre-pandemic level in January-September with the backing of the mobility in Europe, the UN tourism agency data revealed on Wednesday.

Some 700 million tourists traveled internationally in the first nine months of this year, up from a year ago, but down 27% from the same period in 2019, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The sector is expected to catch 65% of 2019 levels by the end of this year, as the 10-month figure indicated so.

The year-on-year rise stemmed from strong pent-up demand, improved confidence levels and the lifting of restrictions in an increasing number of destinations, the UNWTO said.

Europe welcomed 477 million international arrivals or 68% of the world total in January-September, hitting 81% of levels before the COVID-19 pandemic.The figure surged 126% from last year, fueled by strong intra-regional demand and travel from the US.

The Middle East saw international arrivals more than triple (up 225%) in the same period, climbing to 77% of 2019 levels.

However, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific made only 27% of pre-virus levels in the nine-month period due to coronavirus-related restrictions in China.

Citing the International Air Transport Association data, the UN body said air seat capacity on international routes (measured in available seat-kilometers or ASKs) in January-August reached 62% of 2019 levels, with Europe (78%) and the Americas (76%) posting the strongest results.

According to hospitality analytics firm STR, global hotel occupancy rates soared to 66% in September, up from 43% in January.


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