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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Global tourism is recovering

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MUMBAI: Global tourism is roaring back to life despite Covid travel headaches and the effects of the war in Ukraine, but it has yet to return to its pre-pandemic health.


International tourist arrivals worldwide have more than doubled, up 130 per cent in January 2022 on the same period last year, according to the latest UN World Tourism Organization figures.


Travellers are regaining confidence, and Europe and the Americas are leading the resurgence.


Worldwide, there have been 18 million additional visitors, the UNWTO said, "equivalent to the total increase recorded over the whole of 2021".


In 2019, global tourism revenues reached $1.48 trillion. That figure dropped by almost two thirds due to the pandemic the following year.


While January confirms the recovery trend that began in 2021, the UNWTO highlighted how the Omicron Covid variant recently put the brakes on the rise. International arrivals in January 2022 were still 67 per cent lower than before the pandemic.


Most regions have seen travellers return and rebound from the low levels of early 2021, with Europe faring three times better and the Americas twice as well.


That's still some way off pre-pandemic numbers, but Larry Cuculic, general manager of the Best Western hotel company, is optimistic.


"I travelled earlier this week and I can tell you that the airports, the international terminals in the US are very crowded and there is a demand or an interest in travelling to Europe, because for several years we couldn't do that," he said.


"We miss going to Paris, Rome and Berlin." The Middle East is also experiencing a boom, with arrivals up 89 per cent on 2021, and so is Africa, with numbers up 51 per cent — but these two regions are still very far from their 2019 totals, according to the UNWTO. — AFP


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