Global tourism recoups 60% of prepandemic volume

With more countries reopening their borders, United Nations-World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees international tourism activities regaining ground as tourists grab the chance to travel again after being locked down for about two years due to the pandemic-induced restrictions.

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer noted that international tourist arrivals nearly tripled in January to July compared with the same period in the past year.

The growth allowed the sector to recover almost 60 percent of prepandemic levels.

Apart from the lifting of travel restrictions, UNWTO attributed the tourism sector’s momentum to pent-up demand. The group noted that 86 countries no longer had pandemic-related restrictions as of Sept. 19.

“Tourism continues to recover steadily, yet several challenges remain, from geopolitical to economic,” UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement.

“The sector is bringing back hope and opportunity for people everywhere. Now is also the time to rethink tourism, where it is going and how it impacts people and planet,” the official added.

In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism (DOT) previously said that tourism activities were expected to further gain traction in the second half with more international tourists arriving onshore.

The DOT earlier estimated that more than 800,000 foreign tourists had arrived in the country this year as of July 15, as they maximize the opportunity to travel for leisure and business.

Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) events have been driving the tourism sector, the department noted.

MICE are events catering to a large group of professionals or individuals in the same field of interest or expertise. Conducting such events translates to major economic contributions given the amount of their spending, mostly in the hospitality segment.

According to global travel technology firm HotelPlanner, business events, coupled with leisure trips, have been on the rise and these are expected to drive hotel bookings in the country.