In 2023 international tourist arrivals recovered 89% of 2019 levels and export revenues from tourism 96%, while direct tourism GDP reached the same levels as in 2019.

UN Tourism’s projection for 2024 points to a full recovery of international tourism with arrivals growing 2% above 2019 levels. In line with this, the newest data released by the UN specialized agency for tourism show that:

Yet it also recalls the need to ensure adequate tourism policies and destination management, aiming to advance sustainability and inclusion, while addressing the externalities and impact of the sector on resources and communities

The Middle East saw the strongest relative growth, with international arrivals exceeding by 36% pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2024, or 4% above Q1 2023. This follows an extraordinary performance in 2023, when the Middle East became the first world region to recover pre-pandemic numbers (+22%).

Europe, the world’s largest destination region, exceeded pre-pandemic levels in a quarter for the first time (+1% from Q1 2019). The region recorded 120 million international tourists in the first three months of the year, backed by robust intra-regional demand.

Africa welcomed 5% more arrivals in the first quarter of 2024 than in Q1 2019, and 13% more than in Q1 2023.

The Americas practically recovered pre-pandemic numbers this first quarter, with arrivals reaching 99% of 2019 levels.

International tourism is experiencing a rapid recovery in Asia and the Pacific where arrivals reached 82% of pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2024, after recovering 65% in the year 2023.

UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The recovery of the sector is very welcome news for our economies and the livelihoods of millions. Yet it also recalls the need to ensure adequate tourism policies and destination management, aiming to advance sustainability and inclusion, while addressing the externalities and impact of the sector on resources and communities”.

By subregions, North Africa saw the strongest performance in Q1 2024 with 23% more international arrivals than before the pandemic, followed by Central America (+15%), the Caribbean and Western Europe (both +7%). Southern Mediterranean Europe exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 1%, while South America virtually reached 2019 levels. Northern Europe recovered 98% of pre-pandemic levels, while Subsaharan Africa and North America both recovered 95%.

According to available data, many destinations across the world continued to achieve strong results in Q1 2024, including Qatar (+177% versus Q1 2019), Albania (+121%), Saudi Arabia (+98%), El Salvador (+90%), Tanzania (+53%), Curaçao (+45%), Serbia (+43%), Turks and Caicos (+42%), Guatemala (+41%) and Bulgaria (+38%).

The robust performance of international tourism can also be seen in the UN Tourism Confidence Index which reached 130 points (on a scale of 0 to 200) for the period January-April, above the expectations (122) expressed for this period in mid-January.