Vaccination as Key to Tourism Industry Recovery
The biggest crisis in the history of tourism continues into a second year. Global travel and tourism took a massive hit and many tourism businesses are still struggling to stay afloat. The pandemic shut down borders and suspended most international travel. However, with vaccination rates picking up, many countries are slowly opening up their economies and borders.
The global vaccination rollout is one of the key drivers to increase international mobility in the next months, the data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows.
Summary of Vaccination Data
- As of June 1, 29% of all destinations worldwide have their borders completely closed to international tourism.
- More than half have been completely closed to tourists since May 2020 or longer. Majority of these belonging to the Small Island Development States of Asia and the Pacific.
- In comparison, just three destinations—Albania, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic—are completely open to tourists, with no restrictions now in place.
- One in three (34%) of all destinations are partially closed; 36% request a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, in some cases in combination with a requirement to quarantine.
- 42% of all destinations have introduced specific restrictions for visitors from destinations with variants of concern ranging from the suspension of flights and closing of borders to compulsory quarantine.
- 17% of all destinations worldwide specifically mention vaccinated passengers in their regulations. In most cases, travel restrictions apply to fully vaccinated passengers (who have received two doses of an approved vaccine), though, in others, all restrictions are lifted.
Vaccination is vital for the safety of all. Once tourism activities fully restart, the primary travel influence among tourists would be health and safety. That is the reason why vaccination is key in the eventual recovery of the industry.
The widespread deployment of COVID-19 vaccines will:
- help restore tourists' confidence;
- contribute to easing travel restrictions; and
- gradually normalise tourism activities.
In many parts of the world, a major chunk of the population is vaccinated and people are resuming normal life. In that case, as soon as vaccination happens, we can take a look at resuming travel again.
The recovery of tourism in 2021, therefore, will depend on the speed of vaccination and the coordination between countries on travel procedures and economic situation.
Collaboration within the sector and governments should be in place, adopting a more universal approach to tackling the return of travel and tourism both during the pandemic and in the post-corona world.