International tourism to fully recover in 2024: UN agency

January 19, 2024, 9:03 pm

ANKARA – International tourism is expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels this year, following a strong 2023 figure, the World Tourism Organization said on Friday.

"The unleashing of remaining pent-up demand, increased air connectivity, and a stronger recovery of Asian markets and destinations are expected to underpin a full recovery by the end of 2024," the UN agency said in its first World Tourism Barometer of this year.

International tourism reached 88 percent of its pre-pandemic level in 2023 with 1.3 billion tourist arrivals, it noted.

The Middle East led the recovery, emerging as the sole region overtaking pre-virus levels with arrivals 22 percent above 2019.

The world's most-visited region, Europe, hit 94 percent of pre-pandemic levels, thanks to intra-regional demand and travel from the US.

Africa and the Americas recovered 96 percent of pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached 65 percent of 2019 levels following the reopening of several markets and destinations.

International tourism receipts totaled USD1.4 trillion in 2023, down 7 percent from 1.5 trillion in 2019, according to preliminary estimates from the agency.

Total export revenues from tourism (including passenger transport) are projected at USD1.6 trillion in 2023, nearly 95 percent of the USD1.7 trillion from 2019.

The preliminary estimates showed the economic contribution of tourism was USD3.3 trillion in 2023, or 3 percent of global gross domestic product. (Anadolu)