A third of Tourist spots still closed; tourism sector yet to pick up

A substantial majority of Europeans are rallying behind the idea of digital travel documents, recognizing their potential to streamline border procedures, enhance security, and simplify travel within and outside the Schengen area, according to a recent survey.

Tourism activities are yet to pick up around the globe with about a third of 217 world travel destinations still remaining completely closed to international tourists, as concerns grow over the impact of new Covid variants and governments reversing efforts to ease international tourists.

Among the destinations now off limits, more than half of them are inaccessible to overseas travellers since April 2020, according to the Ninth report -COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions – A Global Review for Tourism released by the UN World Tourism Organisation.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the regulations in place in 217 destinations worldwide.


  • Thirty two per cent of all destinations worldwide (69 in total) completely closed for international tourism. Of this, 38 destinations closed for at least 40 weeks.
  • Seventy-three destinations or 34 per cent tourist spots partially closed to international tourists.
  • Seventy destinations (32 per cent of all destinations worldwide) request the presentation of negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or antigen tests upon arrival. Some countries even want quarantine of tourists. Out of these 70 destinations (31 per cent are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the Americas)
  • Another 70 destinations request such tests as a secondary or third measure
  • Five destinations (2per cent) lifted all Covid -9elated restrictions.

The 69 destinations that completely closed its borders are:

  • 30 destinations in Asia and the Pacific
  • 15 destinations in Europe
  • 11 destinations in Africa
  • 10 destinations in the Americas
  • 3 destinations in the Middle East
  • 26 per cent of all complete border closures are observed by 18 Small Island Developing States that represent 33 per cent of all SIDS worldwide (14 SIDS in Asia and the Pacific and four SIDS in the Americas).

The 73 destinations that partially closed their borders are:

  • 29 destinations in Europe
  • 21 destinations in Africa
  • 10 destinations in Asia and the Pacific
  • 6 destinations in the Americas
  • 17 destinations in the Middle East


Noting that travel restrictions were imposed to restrict the spread of virus, UNWTO Secretary-General Zamb Polilikashvili said that restrictions are just one part of the solution as tourism sectors get a restart. The report indicates adopting a more nuanced, evidence and risk-based approach to implementing travel restrictions.


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