UNWTO Executive Council meets in Marrakech, post Covid-19 challenges & soaring energy prices top agenda

UNWTO Executive Council meets in Marrakech, post Covid-19 challenges & soaring energy prices top agenda

The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) opened on Wednesday in Marrakesh a three-day meeting to discuss the post-covid 19 challenges facing tourism amid high inflation and soaring energy prices, aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, which triggered a global energy crisis.

Over 250 representatives of UNWTO member countries, including tourism ministers, public or private investors, travel agents, hotel & travel industry professional… are gathering in Marrakesh to exchange ideas and coordinate strategies to support the resilience of tourism sector around the world.

The agenda includes the election of the Chair and two vice-chairs of the Executive council, the organization’s budget & future action plan as well as the proposal of increasing the financial contribution of member countries.

Participants will also look into the proposal to set up a task force on “Redesigning Tourism for the Future” and the establishment of UNWTO Regional and Thematic Offices.

Moroccan tourism minister Fatim-Zahra Ammor said the event is an opportunity to showcase Morocco’s huge tourism potentials, promote inbound tourism through a diverse competitive package offering the best of the country to the world as there is pent-up demand for travel.

According to the latest World Tourism Barometer, international tourism is on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022 as the sector continues to bounce back from the pandemic.

An estimated 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September, more than double (+133%) the number recorded for the same period in 2021. This equates to 63% of 2019 levels and puts the sector on course to reach 65% of its pre-pandemic levels this year, in line with UNWTO scenarios. Results were boosted by strong pent-up demand, improved confidence levels and the lifting of restrictions in an increasing number of destinations.

Europe continues to lead the rebound of international tourism. The region welcomed 477 million international arrivals in January-September 2022 (68% of the world total), hitting 81% of pre-pandemic levels. This was more than double that of 2021 (+126%) with results boosted by strong intra-regional demand and travel from the United States. Europe saw particularly robust performance in Q3, when arrivals reached almost 90% of 2019 levels.

At the same time, the Middle East saw international arrivals more than triple (+225%) year on year in January-September 2022, climbing to 77% of pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, some destinations recorded notable increases in international tourism receipts in the first seven to nine months of 2022, including Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Latvia, Portugal, Pakistan, Mexico, Morocco and France.

However, the spike in energy prices and the Russia-Ukraine war could affect recovery in Q4 and into 2023. Despite growing challenges, export revenues from tourism could reach $1.2 to 1.3 trillion in 2022, a 60-70% increase over 2021, or 70-80% of the $1.8 trillion recorded in 2019.


Share This