If you are interested in learning how global tourism is faring under the COVID-19 pandemic, new research by the World Tourism Organization paints a clear picture of how things stand at present.

Medical worker in a protective suit taking a swab for coronavirus from a young woman
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously afftected tourism worldwide © microgen/Getty Images

The research by the United Nations' specialised agency for tourism indicates that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, 100% of 217 global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place. In addition, 156, or 72%, have completely closed their borders to international tourism. Restrictions have been in place for at least three months in 25% of destinations, while restrictions were introduced in 40% at least two months ago. The research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.

Senior woman and adult son wearing face masks at airport
100% of 217 global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place © Getty Images/iStockphoto

UNWTO found that 83% of destinations in Europe have introduced a complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80%, in Asia and the Pacific it's 70%, in the Middle East it is 62%, and in Africa it's 57%. UNWTO has been working closely with international organisations, national governments and the private sector to support the responsible and timely recovery of tourism. UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, recently addressed ministers of the G20 and the EU Commission, making the case for tourism to be made a priority as countries look to recover from the crisis.

Commercial aircrafts remain at the tarmac of Jorge Newbery airport which is closed during the outbreak of COVID-1
Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors © Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

“Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries lockdown and people stay at home," he says. "UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

You might also like:

This is how Portugal is planning to safely open hotels and restaurants

The Canary Islands explores planning scenarios to slowly re-open to visitors

Explore related stories

Dune Part 2 Film Still

Art and Culture

7 of 2024's best TV and movie locations to inspire your travels

Jul 18, 2024 • 7 min read