World Tourism Barometer: August/September 2020



United Nations World Tourism Organization

Key Findings

  • International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) declined 65% in the first half of 2020 over the same period last year, with arrivals in June down 93%, according to data reported by destinations.
  • Despite the gradual reopening of an increasing number of destinations during the second half of May and the month of June, ahead of the Northern Hemisphere summer season, the expected improvement in June was almost unperceived compared to May.
  • The massive fall in international travel demand during the first half of 2020 translates into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about USD 460 billion in export revenues from international tourism. This represents over five times the loss in receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis.
  • The contraction in international demand is also reflected in doubledigit declines in international tourism expenditure. Major outbound markets such as the United States and China continue to be at a standstill, though some markets such as France anGermany have shown some improvement in demand for international travel in June.
  • While the recovery of international tourism remains sluggish, demand for domestic tourism is rising in many large markets such as China where air capacity in July rebounded to around 90% the level of 2019. In Russia air capacity has also been underpinned by rising domestic travel.
  • Based on the three UNWTO scenarios published in May 2020 pointing to declines of 58% to 78% in international tourist arrivals in 2020, current trends suggest a decline in international arrivals closer to 70% for 2020.
  • Extended scenarios for 2021-2024 point to a strong rebound in the year 2021 based on the assumption of a reversal in the evolution of the pandemic, significant improvement in traveller confidence and major lifting of travel restrictions by the middle of the year. Nonetheless, the return to 2019 levels in terms of international arrivals would take 2½ to 4 years.

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