Pandemic restrictions mean two-thirds of borders are fully or partly closed – dpa international


DUBLIN — Pandemic restrictions have completely or partly closed two-thirds of destinations worldwide to international tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), a United Nations agency.

Almost a year since  the World Health Organization labelled the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, 69 out of 217 destinations remain “completely closed,” the UNTWO said on Monday in its latest Travel Restrictions Report.

Around the same number of destinations are “partially closed,” the UNWTO calculated.

Thirty-eight of the 69 completely-closed destinations have been that way for at least 40 weeks, the UNWTO said, noting “regional differences” in how the border controls are applied.

Thirty Asia-Pacific destinations are completely closed, twice as many as in Europe, where the pandemic hit hard in second and third waves over the winter months. Some European countries reimposed domestic travel restrictions and advisories telling people to stay at home, but in general did not impose border controls to match those seen in Asia.

Eleven destinations in Africa are completely shut, with a further 10 in the Americas and 3 in the Middle East.

The UNWTO said “the emergence of new variants of the Covid-19 virus” prompted many goverments to “reverse efforts to ease restrictions on travel” seen after the first pandemic wave in early 2020.


Domestic travel restrictions in Ireland during the country’s 3rd lockdown are meant to keep people withing 5km of their homes. Going for walks, such as along this disused railway in the west of Ireland, is a way for people to get outdoors despite the stay-home advice from government (Simon Roughneen)

Calling for “the safe and responsible restart of a sector upon which many millions of businesses and jobs depend,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Polilikashvili said travel restrictions should be “based on the latest data and analysis and consistently reviewed.”

International arrivals fell 74 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to UNWTO data, causing economic losses estimated at around one trillion dollars. The biggest drop was in the Asia-Pacific, where numbers dropped by 84 per cent.

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