Tourism to reach pre-pandemic levels in select regions

The Middle East is first in line for recovery

After stronger than expected recovery last year, 2023 could see international tourism arrivals return to pre-pandemic levels in Europe and the Middle East, according to a statement issued by UNWTO. Tourists are nonetheless expected to increasingly seek value for money and travel closer to home in response to the challenging economic climate.

Based on UNWTO’s forward-looking scenarios for 2023, global international tourist arrivals could reach 80 per cent to 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels this year, depending on the extent of the economic slowdown, the ongoing recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific and the evolution of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, among other factors.

According to new data UNWTO, more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021 though still 63 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers. The Middle East enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers. Europe reached nearly 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022. Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65 per cent of their pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached only 23 per cent.