from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – INTERNATIONAL tourism is on track to recover almost 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year.
World Tourism Organisation (WTO) projections are buoyed by the fact that an estimated 975 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September 2023, an increase of 38 percent on the same months of 2022.
World destinations welcomed 22 percent more international tourists in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, reflecting a strong Northern Hemisphere summer season.
International tourist arrivals hit 91 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, reaching 92 percent in July, the best month so far since the start of the pandemic.
Overall, tourism recovered 87 percent of pre-pandemic levels in January-September 2023.
Africa recovered 92 percent of pre-pandemic visitors in this nine-month period.
Zurab Pololikashvili, WTO Secretary-General, said the latest data by the organisation shows that international tourism has almost completely recovered from the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 with many destinations reaching or even exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals and receipts.
“This is critical for destinations, businesses, and communities where the sector is a major lifeline,” he said.
Drawing on data from the International Air Transport Association, the WTO Tourism Recovery Tracker details a strong recovery in air passenger numbers and tourist accommodation occupancy levels.
Against this backdrop, international tourism is well on track to fully recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024 despite economic challenges such as high inflation and weaker global output, as well as important geopolitical tensions and conflicts.
– CAJ News