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UNWTO: International travel demand to recover in Q3-2021

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HCMC – Travel restrictions meant to prevent Covid-19 led to the number of international arrivals around the globe slumping 70% in the January-August period, but tourism is forecast to recover from the third quarter of 2021, said the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Asia Pacific suffered the most impact with a 79% decline, followed by Africa and the Middle East with 69%, Europe with 68% and America at 65%.

In the Asia Pacific, July and August reported the steepest fall at up to 96%. In Vietnam, data from the General Statistics Office showed that the number of international arrivals nosedived by 98.9% year-on-year.

In the coming months, the situation may not improve as the Government has yet to welcome international vacationers.

Meanwhile, Europe saw a milder decline in July and August as nations gradually opened their borders. However, the recovery was short-lived as travel restriction measures and recommendations have been put in place again due to the rising number of cases of infection.

By the end of August, the number of international travelers dropped by over 700 million compared with the same period last year. Export revenue from international tourism dipped by US$730 billion, eight times higher than that triggered by the global financial crisis in 2009.

Vietnam has yet to calculate the total damages caused by the decline. However, as of the end of October, the nation saw the number of foreign vacationers down by nearly 10.7 million. Foreigners recorded an average spending of US$1,074 each in 2019.

The unprecedented decrease is leading to serious socioeconomic consequences, posing risks to millions of jobs and businesses, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, stated in a recent press release.

Pololikashvili stressed the need to restart the tourism sector in a safe, timely and coordinative manner. However, the industry still faces a gloomy outlook in the near future.

According to UNWTO, the demand for traveling will keep plunging, with the number of international arrivals expected to sink by nearly 70% this year. They key reasons remain travel restrictions, the slow coronavirus control process, low consumer confidence and the economic recession.

Most UNWTO experts expected the demand for international travel to recover next year, mainly from the third quarter. However, 20% of them believed it would happen only in 2022.

Many tourism experts and businesses in Vietnam have expressed concern over a possible slow recovery in the inbound segment that has developed poorly due to the pandemic. Some partners have canceled tours to Vietnam until the first quarter of 2021 and even until next October.

Some partners in Europe have heard that international flights to Vietnam will not resume until next April. The nation is still in hibernation, said Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails.

Commenting on the recovery rate of the segment, Grant Thornton Vietnam said the number of international arrivals may go from 10 to 12 million in 2021 in the most optimistic scenario, from eight to 10 million in the average and from six to eight million in the worst scenario.

By Dao Loan

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