Between January and September this year, 975 million tourists were recorded, 38% more than in 2023

International tourism would reach 90% of pre-pandemic activity by 2023

OMT - La actividad turística se recuperó en 2023 hasta un 90% con respecto a los niveles previos a la pandemia
UNWTO - Tourism activity recovered by up to 90% by 2023 from pre-pandemic levels

International tourism is on track to recover to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (WTO). 

  1. Revenues reach USD 1.4 trillion
  2. Middle East led the rebound until September
  3. Spending high

Some 975 million international tourists travelled between January and September this year, an increase of 38% over the same period in 2022. 

The latest UNWTO Tourism Barometer also indicates that destinations around the world received 22% more international tourists in the third quarter of 2023, reflecting a strong summer season in the northern hemisphere. 

According to the WTO survey, international tourist arrivals reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, reaching 92% in July, the best month to date since the start of the pandemic.

Revenues reach USD 1.4 trillion

Overall, the tourism sector recovered 87% of pre-pandemic levels between January and September 2023. International tourism receipts would reach USD 1.4 trillion in 2023, 93% of 2019's USD 1.5 trillion. 

The latest WTO figures show that international tourism has almost fully recovered from COVID-19, with many destinations reaching or even surpassing pre-emergency arrivals and receipts. 

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said the sector's recovery is "crucial for destinations, businesses and communities where this market is an important source of livelihood".

Middle East led the rebound until September

The Middle East was the region that continued to lead the recovery, with 20% above pre-pandemic levels until September 2023. Until then, it was the only area to exceed 2019 levels. 

The UN specialised agency explained that visa facilitation measures, the development of new destinations, investments in new tourism projects and special events have helped support the rebound. 

Europe, the world's largest destination region, welcomed 550 million international tourists in the first nine months of the year, or 56% of the global total, a number that represents 94% of pre-pandemic levels. The increase was supported by strong regional demand, as well as solid demand from the United States. 

Africa recovered 92% of visitors in the same period, and arrivals in the Americas reached 88% of 2019 numbers from January to September. The region benefited from strong US demand, especially for Caribbean destinations. 

Asia-Pacific reached 62% of 2019 levels due to the slower reopening of international travel. However, performance among sub-regions is mixed, with South Asia regaining 95% of pre-pandemic levels, and Northeast Asia only 50%.

Spending high

Tourism spending remains strong, with many major source markets reporting high international travel demand, several of them higher than 2019.  

Germany and the United States spent 13% and 11% more abroad than in 2019, respectively, while Italy's spending rose 16%. 

The recovery is also reflected in the performance of industry indicators. According to data from the International Air Transport Association and the WTO Tourism Tracker, there was a strong recovery in air passenger numbers and tourist accommodation occupancy levels. 

Given this scenario, the WTO forecasts that by 2024 international tourism will recover to pre-pandemic levels despite economic challenges such as high inflation and weak global production, and geopolitical tensions and conflicts.