International tourism is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s first World Tourism Barometer of the year. In 2023, international tourism reached 88 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with 1.3 billion international tourists arriving. Visits In addition, international tourism revenues reached 1.4 trillion dollars, accounting for 93 percent of the amount recorded in 2019.

The expected recovery is attributed to reduced demand, increased air connectivity and further recovery in Asian markets and destinations. UNWTO believes these factors could lead to a full recovery of tourism by the end of 2024.

According to UNWTO, by 2024 the export markets of Europe, America and the Middle East will lead the way in increasing tourism flows and spending worldwide. International tourism performed better than expected in 2023, thanks to strong demand growth and the easing of travel restrictions in many countries. The Middle East, Europe and Africa showed the best performance last year. Comparatively, the Middle East came out on top, exceeding pre-pandemic levels, with 22% more visitors than in 2019.

European locations are the most popular. flights

In 2023, Europe became the most visited region in the world. It has recovered 94 percent of its pre-pandemic visitors, thanks to intra-regional demand and travel from the United States. Africa has also shown a promising recovery; 96 percent of pre-pandemic visitors returned. The US is at 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

But Asia and the Pacific were the worst-performing regions, at just 65 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Although some markets and destinations reopened, the results were mixed. On the other hand, South Asia has regained 87% of its 2019 visitor numbers, while Northeast Asia is still around 55%.

Compared with 2019, four sub-regions, including the Southern Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Central America and North Africa, saw double-digit growth in international arrivals above pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

International tourism revenue

According to UNWTO, international tourism revenues will reach US$1.4 trillion by 2023, an increase of 93 percent from US$1.5 trillion in 2019. Additionally, total tourism exports, including passenger transportation, are estimated to be 1.6 trillion US dollars in 2023. percentage of the recorded figure. in 2019

UNWTO’s preliminary estimates of the economic contribution of tourism, measured directly by tourism’s share of gross domestic product, indicate that this contribution will reach US$3.3 trillion in 2023, or 3% of global GDP.

2024 forecast

According to UNWTO, international tourism is expected to fully reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. Initial estimates point to a growth rate of 2 percent above 2019 levels, with 1.5 billion international tourists arriving worldwide.

The UNWTO forecast is based on the pace of recovery in Asia and the reduction in current economic and geopolitical risks. The latest UNWTO confidence survey shows that 67% of tourism professionals are optimistic that 2024 will deliver better results than 2023. While another 28% expect similar results, only 6% expect tourism performance to decline in 2024 compared to last year.


Asia’s tourism sector still has great recovery potential. The reopening of various overseas markets and destinations will help support recovery both locally and globally. China’s outbound and return tourism will increase in 2024 due to visa convenience and increased air capacity. China is granting visa exemptions to six countries for one year: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.

The tourism authority believes visa and travel facilitation measures will encourage travel to the Middle East and Africa. These regions have announced their intention to introduce a uniform tourist visa similar to the Schengen visa. They have also taken various measures to facilitate travel between African countries, especially Kenya and Rwanda.

UNWTO believes Europe will perform well in 2024. In March, Romania and Bulgaria will join the free movement Schengen area, and Paris and France will host the Olympic Games this summer.

Additionally, the strengthening dollar will continue to support travel from the United States to destinations in the Americas and other continents.

Ongoing risks flights

However, experts assure that despite the ongoing recovery in international tourism, serious difficulties still remain due to economic and geopolitical tensions. The report stated that persistent inflation, high interest rates, volatile oil prices and trade barriers will continue to affect transportation and housing costs worldwide in 2024.

As a result, tourists are expected to seek value for money, travel closer to home and opt for more sustainable travel. However, labor shortage is vital as tourism businesses face a shortage of workers to meet high demand.

Additionally, the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel could disrupt travel in the Middle East and undermine travelers’ confidence. The report concludes that uncertainty resulting from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and other rising geopolitical tensions will negatively impact traveler confidence this year.

International tourism is the act of people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure, business, or other purposes, crossing national borders. It has become a popular global activity, fueled by factors such as:

  • Globalization: The increasing interconnectedness of the world has made it easier and more affordable for people to travel internationally.
  • Rising disposable incomes: As people’s incomes have risen, they have more money to spend on travel.
  • Advancements in transportation: Modern airplanes and high-speed trains have made it possible to travel long distances quickly and easily.
  • Increased desire for cultural experiences: People are increasingly interested in experiencing different cultures and ways of life.

International tourism has a significant impact on the global economy. In 2023, it generated an estimated USD 1.4 trillion in revenue, making it one of the largest and most important sectors in the world economy. It also creates jobs, supports businesses, and promotes cultural understanding.

However, international tourism also has some negative impacts. These include:

  • Environmental damage: Tourism can contribute to climate change, air and water pollution, and the degradation of natural resources.
  • Cultural homogenization: The spread of tourism can lead to the loss of traditional cultures and ways of life.
  • Social and economic inequality: Tourism can benefit some communities more than others, exacerbating existing inequalities.

Despite these challenges, international tourism is a powerful force that can promote understanding, cooperation, and sustainable development. As the industry continues to grow, it is important to find ways to mitigate its negative impacts and maximize its positive contributions.

International tourism flights

Here are some specific examples of international tourism:

  • A family from the United States travels to Italy to visit historical sites and experience Italian culture.
  • A group of friends from China travels to Australia to go hiking and camping in the Outback.
  • A business executive from Japan travels to France to attend a conference.
  • A student from Mexico travels to Spain to study abroad.

International tourism can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both travelers and host communities. By being mindful of its potential impacts, we can help to ensure that it continues to be a force for good in the world.

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