Photo Samal Island, Philippines. Credit Nicole Richstein on Unsplash
Just 2% of countries throughout the world have lifted all travel restrictions and almost a third of all countries, including 82% in Southeast Asia remain completely closed*. Just Singapore and Thailand were open in some form.
That is according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which has published its latest report* on global tourism and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
*Accurate as of 1st February 2021.
Complete Closure of Borders
32% of countries (69) worldwide had a complete closure of their borders on 1st February. This included some EU countries, Canada, China and New Zealand.
Within Southeast Asia 9 of the 11 ASEAN countries remain closed; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam. The majority of these have now been closed for almost 12 months.
Partial Closure of Borders
73 destinations throughout the world (34%) have a partial closure of borders. This includes Australia, the remaining EU countries and the United States.
Within Southeast Asia only Singapore falls into this category.
Testing / Quarantine
32% of all destinations worldwide (70) allow entry through a mixture of Covid-19 testing and quarantine.
Within Southeast Asia the only country currently allowing entry this way is Thailand which currently operates a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals although discussions are taking place on reducing this for vaccinated travellers.
The report also looked at the importance of tourism to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Income that has been massively impacted by international and domestic travel restrictions.
The countries within Southeast Asia with the biggest dependence on tourism are Cambodia and the Philippines, who both were categorised as having a “High” dependence with more than 20% of GDP pre-pandemic being related to the industry.
Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were all categorised as “Considerable” with tourism accounting for between 10 and 20% of GDP.
Brunei, Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam were all rated as “Moderate” at between 5 and 10% of GDP and Myanmar was rated as “Low” with tourism accounting for less than 5% of GDP. Timor-Leste did not have figures available.
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