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MADRID, Sept 15 (Reuters) – International tourist arrivals plunged 65% in the first half of 2020 compared to last year, data from the World Tourism Organization showed on Tuesday, translating into an estimated $460 billion loss in export revenues.
Just over half of destinations eased travel restrictions by early September but a return to 2019 levels of tourism could take between two to four years, according to the Madrid-based United Nations’ tourism body.
“Safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world, and it is imperative that governments work closely with the private sector to get global tourism moving again,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.
A total of 440 million international arrivals were lost between January and June this year, with Asia and the Pacific the hardest-hit region at 72% less tourists than last year.
Europe saw a 66% drop in arrivals, compared to a 57% decline in Africa and the Middle East and 55% in the Americas. (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee Editing by Ingrid Melander)
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