Europe ‘most open’ region to international tourists

Europe is the most open global region to international tourists, with just 7% of borders completely closed, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.

Its latest Travel Restrictions Report said the continent was closely followed by Africa (9%), the Americas (10%) and the Middle East (15%).

However, Asia and the Pacific remains the region with the most restrictions in place, with 65% of all destinations completely closed.

In total, 21% of destinations around the world continue to have their borders completely closed as new surges of Covid-19 have an impact on the restart of international tourism.

The latest research shows that 98% of all destinations still have some kind of travel restrictions in place.

A quarter (25%) of all global destinations continue to have their borders partially closed to international tourism and half (52%) require international tourists to present a PCR or antigen test upon arrival.

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The research also shows how destinations are opening up to vaccinated international tourists – 85 destinations (39%) have eased restrictions for fully vaccinated international tourists, while 20 destinations (9%) have made a full Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for entering a destination for tourism purposes.

However, just four destinations have so far lifted all Covid-19-related restrictions completely: Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general, said: “The safe easing or lifting of restrictions on travel are essential for the restart of tourism and the return of the social and economic benefits the sector offers.

“The trend towards destinations taking evidence-based approaches to restrictions reflects the evolving nature of the pandemic will also help restore confidence in travel while helping keep both tourists and tourism workers safe.”

The report came as the UK and other countries reimposed restrictions on travel to countries in southern Africa as a new variant of coronavirus emerged.

South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini were to added to the British government red list from noon on Friday (November 26) and flights have been suspended.

Arrivals from 4am on Sunday (November 28) are required to quarantine in a hotel, with those arriving before then required to quarantine at home and take PCR tests on day two and eight.

Picture by Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock

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