According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), TOURIST arrivals in Asia and the Pacific (APAC) are expected to lag the recovery in other regions as travelers are still discouraged by the frictions associated with international travel.
In a statement on Monday, UNWTO said the projection for 2022 is contained in its World Tourism Barometer report.
“In Africa and the Middle East, arrivals could reach around 50% to 70% of pre-pandemic levels, while in Asia-Pacific they would remain at 30% of 2019 levels in the best case scenario” , said UNWTO.
“Scenarios by region show that Europe and the Americas have the best tourism outcomes in 2022, while APAC is expected to lag behind due to more restrictive travel policies,” he added.
The UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to reach between 55% and 70% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022. The actual outcome will depend on new travel restrictions, the extent of inflation and the fallout from the Russian war. -Ukrainian.
“More recent challenges such as staff shortages, severe airport congestion and flight delays and cancellations could also impact international tourism figures,” the UNWTO said.
Asked to comment, John Paolo R. Rivera, associate director of the Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism at the Asian Institute of Management, said the Philippines would be banking on domestic tourism to fill the void.
“Recent Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts (PTSA) indicated that Philippine tourism is driven 80% by domestic tourism and 20% by foreign tourism. The Philippines can rely on its domestic tourism to thrive, unlike other countries that depend on foreign tourism,” Mr. Rivera said.
“Philippine tourism is expected to strengthen domestic tourism through better infrastructure, product offerings and security measures,” he added.
Rivera noted that the recent detection of monkeypox in the Philippines could pose a downside risk.
“Monkeypox is a threat if found to be contagious and requires physical distancing and movement restrictions to contain it. This will again affect tourism negatively, as tourism is a high footfall and high movement industry,” Mr. Rivera said.
The Department of Health announced on July 29 the detection of the first case of monkeypox in the country, involving a 31-year-old Filipino man.
Philippine Tourism Congress President Jose C. Clemente III said in a Viber message that the Philippines needs to balance dealing with epidemics and opening up the economy.
“We are happy with the current arrival rate from the Philippines as it continues to increase every month. We are still picking up the pace and having a slower but steady pace is good for now,” a- he added.
UNWTO said international tourism recorded a sustained recovery in the first five months of 2022 despite economic and geopolitical challenges.
“International tourism has seen a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with nearly 250 million international arrivals recorded. This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021 and means the sector has recovered almost half (46%) of pre-pandemic levels in 2019,” UNWTO said.
UNWTO said Europe recorded a 350% increase in international arrivals in the first five months of 2022, while the Middle East and Africa remained 54% and 50% respectively below levels of 2019.
He added that APAC had seen a 94% increase in arrivals in the first five months. However, the number was 90% below 2019 levels as some borders remained closed to non-essential travel.
UNWTO has noted that more destinations are easing or lifting travel restrictions at this stage of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said that as of July 22, 62 destinations (including 39 in Europe) had no COVID-19 restrictions in place and more destinations in Asia have started relaxing their rules.
“The recovery of tourism has accelerated in many parts of the world, overcoming the challenges that stood in its way. At the same time, (we have to be careful) given the economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges that could impact the sector in the remainder of 2022 and beyond,” said the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili.
Since February 10, the Philippines has allowed entry of fully vaccinated tourists from nationals who are visa-free, while fully vaccinated Filipinos have been allowed to enter since February 1.
Foreigners and returning Filipinos are no longer required to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Ministry of Tourism estimates tourist arrivals, including Filipinos balikbayansto 814,144 at the end of June.
According to preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the direct gross value added of the tourism industry accounted for 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021, compared to 5.1% of GDP in 2020. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave