54+ Fascinating Coronavirus Travel Statistics [Fresh For 2022!]

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
November 22, 2022
How did the Coronavirus pandemic affect the world's travel and tourism industry? Here are some up-to-date statistics you might find useful and interesting!
Coronavirus Tourism Statistics

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit us back in early 2020, the whole world was put on pause.

But no industry has been more affected than travel and tourism!

Across the globe, travelling between countries became impossible, which in 2020 caused international tourist arrivals to fall by 72.4%.

For countries like Hong Kong, Vanuatu, and Bhutan, they saw a -100% decrease in international visitors.

Even the least affected region, Europe, still saw a 36% decline in global tourist arrivals between 2022 and 2019.

In today’s post, we’ve gathered some of the most interesting and crucial statistics about tourism before and after Covid-19.

Let’s dive in!

Sources: You will find the individual source for each stat listed underneath the data, but head to the end of the post for all the relevant links and articles used.

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more here
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How many tourists were there globally in 2020?

There were approximately 404 million international tourist arrivals in 2020, which was 72.4% lower than the 2019 number.

In terms of the number of international trips taken, 1 billion international trips were taken in 2020, 30% less than the expected figure.

How did covid-19 impact the world tourism industry?

Because of Coronavirus pandemic, tourism declined sharply in 2020. The global international tourist arrivals fell by 72.4% in 2020. Asia and the Pacific had been the region that experienced the most drastic decrease in international tourist arrivals.

Important Coronavirus Travel & Tourism Statistics

  • Global international tourist arrivals fell by 72.4% in 2020.
  • The world region that has experienced the most drastic decline in international tourist arrivals is Asia and the Pacific, which is at -90% (137 million) in May 2022 compared to May 2019.
  • Many countries in Asia and the Pacific experienced a 100% fall in the number of international tourist arrivals between May 2019 and 2022, including Hong Kong, Vanuatu, and Bhutan.
  • The United States saw a 49% decrease in international tourist arrivals, or 11.9 million fewer in 2022 than in 2019.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had such a sudden, dramatic impact on business travel, which fell by 89%.
  • The overall travel and tourism market saw 62 million job losses in 2020. 
  • Tourism makes up 88% of Aruba’s total export, making it the destination that was most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The hotel occupancy rate in Europe in May 2020 was only 13.3%, a dramatic drop from $82.3 in May 2019.
  • The potential loss in hotel business sales in the U.S. was $925 billion in 2020, due to the decreasing occupancy rates.
  • In 2020 during the pandemic, 50% of respondents made more last minute travel bookings.

International tourist arrival affected by Coronavirus

How did the Coronavirus impact international tourism?

1. The global international tourist arrivals fell by 72.4% in 2020.

[Statista]

2. In 2021, international tourist arrivals worldwide increased by 5.4% to 427 million.

[Statista]

However, the number is still very much below the 2019 and pre-pandemic levels.

3. As of May 2022, international tourist arrivals worldwide are still at -54% compared to May 2019. This is 291 million fewer international arrivals.

[UNWTO]

4. The world region that has experienced the most drastic decline in international tourist arrivals is Asia and the Pacific, which is at -90% (137 million) in May 2022 compared to May 2019.

[UNWTO]

5. Meanwhile, the Middle East sees a 54% decrease in international tourist arrivals between May 2019 and 2022.

[UNWTO]

6. The region least affected by the pandemic is Europe, but even they still record a 36% decline in international tourist arrivals in May 2022 compared to May 2019.

[UNWTO]

Coronavirus impact on Asia and the Pacific tourism

How did the Coronavirus pandemic impact tourism in Asia and the Pacific?

7. Many countries in Asia and the Pacific experienced a 100% fall in the number of international tourist arrivals between May 2019 and 2022, including Hong Kong, Vanuatu, and Bhutan.

[UNWTO]

8. Others saw equally significant decreases in international tourist arrivals over the last two years. The numbers in Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Japan all fell by at least 97%.

[UNWTO]

A lot of these countries depend on international visitors to liven up their tourism industry, but the pandemic travel restrictions have prevented such tourists to cross their borders.

9. Thailand’s international tourist arrivals plummeted by 15.4 million in 2022.

[UNWTO]

Thailand received 15.4 million fewer international tourist arrivals in 2022.

10. In Vietnam, there are 6.9 million fewer international tourist arrivals in 2022.

[UNWTO]

Vietnam also suffered significant loss in international tourist arrivals due to the pandemic.

11. South Korea had 6.4 million fewer international tourist arrivals in 2022 than in 2019.

[UNWTO]

Coronavirus impact on the Americas tourism

How did the Coronavirus pandemic impact tourism in the Americas?

12. In the Americas, South America experienced the most significant decline in international arrivals, at -64% in 2022 compared to 2019.

[UNWTO]

South America had a huge decline in international arrivals from 2019.

13. The percentage is largest in Chile (80%), but Argentina saw the highest decline in terms of number (2.2 million fewer international arrivals).

[UNWTO]

The country in the Americas that had the highest decrease of international arrivals in terms of numbers was Argentina.

14. The United States saw a 49% decrease in international tourist arrivals, or 11.9 million fewer in 2022 than in 2019.

[UNWTO]

The US tourism industry suffered a 49% drop in the number of international tourist arrivals.

15. Canada had 57% or 3.6 million fewer international tourist arrivals in 2022 compared to 2019.

[UNWTO]

16. In 2022, Mexico received 19% or 3.5 million fewer international tourist arrivals compared to in 2019.

[UNWTO]

17. In April 2020, TSA screenings in American airports were far below 100,000 per day, a 96% decline from pre-pandemic levels.

[U.S. Travel]

18. In April 2020, consumers in Brazil cancelled 96% of their planned holidays.

[CEPAL]

19. In Cuba, tourist arrivals dropped 20%, 13% and 33% in January, February and March 2020 respectively, and nearly hit zero in April.

[CEPAL]

Coronavirus impact on Europe tourism

How did the Coronavirus pandemic impact tourism in Europe?

20. From 2019 to 2022, Germany’s international tourist arrival fell by 46%.

[UNWTO]

21. However, the most significant loss of international arrivals experienced by a European country is by Kazakhstan (-82%).

[UNWTO]

22. In terms of numbers, Spain had 6.5 million fewer international arrivals in 2022 than in 2019, the highest compared to other European countries

[UNWTO]

Coronavirus impact on the global travel industry

How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact tourism around the world?

23. The total revenue for the travel and tourism industry worldwide was estimated to be $396.37 billion in 2020, a 42.1% decrease from 2019. 

[Statista]

This number is also much lower than the initial 2020 prediction of $712 billion.

24. The revenue for the European travel industry was the most impacted by the pandemic, falling from $211.97 in 2019 to $124 billion in 2020.

[Statista]

25. In terms of business travel spending, China is expected to record the biggest loss, decreasing by $404.1 billion total.

[Statista]

26. The Asian Pacific region experienced the most job losses during the pandemic, which equalled to $1.04 trillion loss in GDP.

[Statista]

27. In terms of country, China had the most significant employment loss in travel and tourism, with 8.9 million fewer jobs in 2021 than in 2019.

[Statista]

This is followed by India, the U.S., Indonesia, Thailand, and Brazil respectively.

28. The COVID-19 pandemic had such a sudden, dramatic impact on business travel, which fell by 89%.

[PwC]

This far exceeds the losses experienced during both the Great Recession and 9/11 combined.

business travel decline

29. In fact, nearly half of all companies called off corporate travel during the pandemic.

[PwC]

Job loss in travel due to Covid-19 pandemic

How many people lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic?

30. The overall travel and tourism market saw 62 million job losses in 2020. 

[Statista]

31. This scenario improved slightly in 2021, but the travel and tourism market still had approximately 44 million jobs fewer than it had in 2019.

[Statista]

32. Asia-Pacific experienced the highest employment loss, with 25.5 million fewer jobs in 2021 compared to 2019.

[Statista]

This is out of seven regions worldwide.

employment loss by region

33. From every three restaurant employees, two lost their jobs during the pandemic.

[National Restaurant Association]

34. Due to the Coronavirus, in April 2020, the average restaurant let go 91% of their hourly workforce and 70% of salaried employees.

[JamesBeard]

Most vulnerable travel destinations due to Coronavirus

What are the destinations most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

35. Tourism makes up 88% of Aruba’s total export, making it the destination that was most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

[UNWTO]

36. Aruba was followed by Saint Lucia, with tourism comprising 87% of its total export, the Bahamas (86%), and Macao, China (78%).

[UNWTO]

37. In terms of economic loss, the most vulnerable destination was Macao as direct tourism makes up 48% of its total GDP.

[UNWTO]

38. The next most vulnerable destinations in terms of percentage of GDP that is from direct tourism were Fiji (13%), Jordan (12%), and Spain (12%).

[UNWTO]

39. The destination depending highly on international tourism is Monaco, with international visitors making up 99% of the country’s total tourism.

[UNWTO]

40. It is followed by Liechtenstein, where 98% of its tourists are international guests.

[UNWTO]

vulnerable destinations by international tourism

Travel companies and bookings worldwide

How did the Coronavirus pandemic impact travel companies and bookings?

41. Between March 2020 and May 2022, bookings for safari trips fell by 75% or more.

[Safari Bookings]

42. This was a major setback for Africa's $12.4 billion safari industry. 

[Safari Bookings]

Wildlife reserves across Africa rely heavily on revenue from safari trips, while many locals are employed in the industry.

43. Almost 90% of cultural institutions (more than 85,000) had to close down due to the pandemic, and around 13% may never reopen.

[UNESCO]

44. Just 5% of museums in Africa and Small Island Developing States could provide online content for their audiences during closure.

[UNESCO]

45. Between April and June 2020, the Walt Disney Co. lost almost $5 billion as its theme parks, resorts, and cruises were forced to close.

[USA Today]

Accommodation

How much were hotels and travel accommodations affected by the pandemic?

46. The hotel occupancy rate in Europe in May 2020 was only 13.3%, a dramatic drop from 82.3% in May 2019.

[Statista]

Between May 2019 to 2019, the European hotel occupancy rate fell from 82.3% to just 13.3%

47. Between January and March 2020, the number of active Airbnb properties in the U.S. dwindled by around 50 thousand.

[Statista]

Travel companies and accommodations like Airbnb experienced significant losses and other consequences because of the pandemic.

48. The drop was more significant in China, with its 700 thousand active Airbnb listings in January 2020 becoming only 599 thousand in March of the same year.

[Statista]

49. A survey conducted during the pandemic revealed that 62% of respondents preferred using a hotel app for check-ins and check-outs, compared to 30% preferring to use a website.

[Statista]

50. The potential loss in hotel business sales in the U.S. was $925 billion in 2020, due to the decreasing occupancy rates.

[Statista]

51. In Spain in March 2020, there was a 40% increase in hotel reservation cancellations compared to the previous month.

[Statista]

The Spanish region most affected by the pandemic was the Canary Islands, which had 127% more hotel cancellations in March than in February 2020.

hotel market size

How Coronavirus affects traveller opinions

How did the pandemic impact travellers’s behaviors and opinions?

52. In 2020 during the pandemic, 50% of respondents made more last minute travel bookings.

[Statista]

This figure includes the increase in last-minute online bookings. The biggest reason behind this last-minute booking trend is due to uncertainties when planning for travels.

53. In December 2020, 76% of travellers around the world expect companies to offer special prices and discounts after the pandemic in order to improve sales.

[Statista]

54. 70% of German travellers claimed that their 2021 travel budget wouldn’t change because of the pandemic, while 20% stated that their budget would shrink.

[Statista]

55. Meanwhile, 59% of American travellers expected their 2021 travel budget to stay the same, while 34% expected it to decrease.

[Statista]

Conclusion

Coronavirus had undoubtedly been a major blow for the global travel and tourism industry.

Travel plans were cancelled as borders closed up between countries, and the uncertainty had put millions of people employed in tourism and hospitality out of jobs.

Of course, destinations that rely on international tourists for their economy had been the ones who suffered the most.

But it’s safe to say that most countries have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’ve tried to be super comprehensive with these stats, but let us know if there was any other aspect you would have liked to see included.

Comment your thoughts below!

Some more statistics that might interest you…

Sources:

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