World tourism inched back in 2021, still a fraction of pre-pandemic levels

The world tourism industry barely improved last year compared to 2020, with all indicators staying way below pre-pandemic levels and industry professionals not expecting a full recovery before 2024, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said on Tuesday. The tourism industry suffered a huge blow in 2020 as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, which made people around the world limit their activity and lose their livelihoods. Rising vaccination rates and the easing of travel restrictions did allow a small rebound in the second half of 2021, Madrid-based UNWTO said in a report, though the spread of the Omicron variant in December triggered another dip in both travel bookings and industry optimism.