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Int’l tourist arrivals almost triple in Jan-July: UN

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Tourists are seen at the Pier 39 of Fisherman’s Wharf as they watch the sea lions in San Francisco, California, United States on September 13, 2022. (Tayfun Coşkun - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 28, 2022 - 09:40 AM

ANKARA (AA) – Having continued to show strong signs of recovery, international tourist arrivals almost tripled in January-July compared to the same period last year, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer figures released on Monday showed that some 474 million tourists travelled internationally from in the first seven months of this year, up from 175 million in January-July 2021 — an annual surge of 175%.

Thus, international tourism recovered to almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels thanks to solid pent-up demand for international travel, as well as easing of travel restrictions, the UNWTO said.

With the release of the new figures, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili noted tourism’s continued steady recovery, while pointing out several remaining challenges, “from geopolitical to economic.”

Citing separate data by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UNWTO said international passenger air traffic soared 234% in the same period, but remained 45% below 2019 levels.

Europe welcomed 309 million of international tourist arrivals in the seven-month period, reaching 74% of the level in 2019.

Amid a busy summer period, Europe welcomed almost three times as many international arrivals compared to January-July 2021 due to strong intra-regional demand and travel from the US.

The Middle East showed the fastest recovery in international arrivals, jumping by 287% year-on-year through that period in 2022.

In July, the figure surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 3%, fueled by an extraordinary increase — 121% — posted by Saudi Arabia following the Hajj pilgrimage.

Among the destinations that reported exceeding pre-pandemic levels of international tourism receipts in the first five to seven months of this year, Serbia exceeded its 2019 figure by 73%; as did Sudan by 64%; Romania by 43%; Albania 32%; North Macedonia 24%; Pakistan 18%; Türkiye, Bangladesh, and Latvia all with 12%; Mexico and Portugal with 8%, Kenya with 5%, and Colombia 2%.

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