Asia and the Pacific continue to be subject to the world’s most stringent air travel restrictions, with 22 per cent of the region under “full restrictions”, and the remainder under “some restrictions”, according to the latest Tourism Dashboard data published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
All air traffic across Europe is now operating with only “some restrictions”, while 8 per cent of the Americas is operating with no restrictions at all, and 88 per cent is operating with just some restrictions.
For January-March 2021, global tourism movements were down by 83 per cent year-on-year.
As global aviation continues to suffer worldwide, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is warning that Europe’s summer season could be marred by the fact there is still no common list of internationally recognised and approved COVID-19 vaccines.
But even as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted legal restrictions on social contact across the UK – sending the message to his country that movement was back in vogue – how smooth travel will be over the remainder of summer remains uncertain.
Earlier this month, British holidaymakers who had been vaccinated with the Indian Covishield batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine were rejected entry into Malta despite the drug being chemically identical to the UK-made vaccine.
Senior Vice President WTTC, Virginia Messina, said reciprocal recognition of all vaccine types and batches was essential for the smooth return of international travel.
“The failure of countries to agree on a common list of all approved and recognised vaccines is of huge concern to WTTC, as we know every day travel is curbed, more cash-strapped Travel & Tourism businesses face even greater strain, pushing ever more to the brink of bankruptcy,” Ms Messina said.