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Covid-19 travel restrictions now universal says UNWTO
Travel limitations are now universal in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19

Covid-19 travel restrictions now universal says UNWTO

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted all destinations worldwide to introduce restrictions on travel, research by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has found.

This represents the most severe restriction on international travel in history and no country has so far lifted restrictions introduced in response to the crisis.

Following up on previous research, the latest data from the United Nations specialised agency for tourism shows that 100 per cent of destinations now have restrictions in place.

Of these, 83 per cent have had Covid-19-related restrictions in place already for four or more weeks and, as of April 20th, so far no destination has lifted them.

UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “Tourism has shown its commitment to putting people first.


“Our sector can also lead the way in driving recovery.

“This research on global travel restrictions will help support the timely and responsible implementation of exit strategies, allowing destinations to ease or lift travel restrictions when it is safe to do so.

“This way, the social and economic benefits that tourism offers can return, providing a path to sustainable recovery for both individuals and whole countries.”

As well as a general overview, the UNWTO research breaks down the type of travel restrictions that have been introduced by destinations in all of the global regions, while also plotting the evolution of these restrictions since January 30th – when the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern.

The latest analysis shows that, of 217 destinations worldwide:

  • Some 45 per cent have totally or partially closed their borders for tourists.
  • A third have suspended totally or partially international flights.
  • A fifth are banning the entry for passengers from specific countries of origin or passengers who have transited through specific destinations.
  • Seven per cent are applying different measures, such as quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days and visa measures.

Against this backdrop, UNWTO has been leading calls for governments worldwide to commit to supporting tourism through this unprecedented challenge.

According to Pololikashvili, the sudden and unexpected fall in tourism demand caused by Covid-19 places millions of jobs and livelihoods at risk while at the same time jeopardising the advances made in sustainable development and equality over recent years.

Image: Friso Gentsch/DPA/PA Images