The number of international tourist arrivals worldwide increased in 2023 compared to the previous year. That said, it remained still below the figure reported in 2019, before the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. After declining to roughly 407 million in the first year of the health crisis, the lowest figure recorded since 1989, global inbound tourist arrivals showed strong signs of recovery in the following years, totaling just under 1.3 billion in 2023.
Europe is the most popular destination for international tourism
Since 2005, Europe has been the global region attracting the highest number of international tourists. While inbound tourist arrivals in Europe rose significantly in 2022 over the previous year, they did not catch up yet with pre-pandemic levels. Within this region, Southern and Mediterranean Europe was the most popular area for international tourism, recording around 265 million arrivals in 2022.
COVID-19 impact on the global travel and tourism market
Travel and tourism were among the industries most hit by the health crisis, as countries worldwide restricted non-essential trips in order to limit the spread of the virus. According to Statista’s Mobility Market Insights, the revenue of the global travel and tourism market shrunk in 2020, declining by around 55 percent over 2019. In this sense, the segments of cruises and package holidays reported ones of the highest drops in revenue in 2020.