As per the latest reports from the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organisation), there has been a fall of 22 per cent in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This crisis could further lead to an annual decline of 60 to 80 per cent when compared to the figures in 2019, according to the United Nations agency.

The UN agency, in its statement, also mentioned that worldwide travel restrictions, and sealing borders to contain the spread of Coronavirus had plunged international tourism into its worst crisis since records began in 1950. Its impact will be witnessed in varying degrees in various global regions, and that too in overlapping times, with Asia and the Pacific expected to rebound first.

UNWTO predicts international tourist arrivals to fall by 80% in 2020

In all of this, airlines have suffered the most, with most of the flights being grounded amid the COVID-19 pandemic; cruise operators, hotel groups are also reeling under this crisis.

Experts are of the view that the situations will likely move toward normalcy during the latter part of the year or maybe early 2021. While domestic demand is expected to recover faster, the UNWTO Panel of Experts survey emphasises that international will take time to grow. Also, the majority might witness signs of the final quarter of 2020, but mostly in 2021. Further, based on previous such cases of crises, leisure travel might likely recover quicker, particularly those for visiting relatives and friends, rather than business travel.

Further, the UNWTO also mentioned that the full extent of the fall in international tourism would depend on how quickly international borders start to open again.

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