ROLL on 2022. That's when the world's tourism industry experts predict we'll be back enjoying international travel.
It will come as no shock to discover that global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74 per cent according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation.
Destinations worldwide saw one billion fewer international arrivals in 2020 than in the previous year. This dwarfs the 4 per cent decline recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis.
Half of the World Tourism Organisation's Panel of Experts expect a rebound to occur in 2022, while the remaining half see a "potential rebound" in 2021.
Last year more than eight out of 10 expected there to be a tourism rebound this year.
Looking further ahead, most experts do not to see a return to pre-pandemic levels happening before 2023. In fact, 43 per cent pointed to 2023, while 41 per cent expect a return to 2019 levels will only happen in 2024 or later.
Asia and the Pacific, the first region to suffer the impact of the pandemic and the one with the highest level of travel restrictions currently in place, recorded a decrease of 84 per cent in arrivals in 2020 (300 million fewer). The Middle East and Africa both recorded a 75 per cent decline.
Europe recorded a 70 per cent decrease in arrivals, despite a small and short-lived revival in the summer of 2020. The region suffered the largest drop in absolute terms, with more than 500 million fewer international tourists in 2020.
The Americas saw a 69 per cent decrease in international arrivals, following somewhat better results in the last quarter of the year.
Ready to book?
Are you thinking ahead and looking at booking travel for later this year or next year?
If so, it would be wise to acquaint yourself with the latest laws as apply to travel booking cancellations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website provides a wealth of advice for people considering booking travel in the current climate.
For starters, it recommends searching the company's terms and conditions for its cancellation and refunds policies. "There may be different policies for different travel periods, so check the one that applies to your travel dates," the ACCC says. "Remember that if you book through a travel agent, the policies of both your agent and travel suppliers will apply."
It is important to understand your rights if the trip is cancelled due to the booking not being able to proceed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions; if you cancel the booking; the business cancels the booking.
The ACCC says consumers should be wary of businesses selling "risk-free" or "100% refund guarantee" offers, as these may misrepresent your right to a refund for cancelled travel.
It recommends you carefully consider your individual circumstances and the risks involved in travelling as refunds are less likely if you cancel the booking.
Find out more on the ACCC website HERE