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Asia Remains Firm on Travel Restrictions


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


Countries in Asia have been the most cautious about reopening their borders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The longer the crisis is dragging on, the more stark the difference has become between Asia and other continents when it comes to travel restrictions. 70 percent of countries in Asia had borders closed to travelers as of June 1, up 9 percent from September. This makes the continent the most closed-off region for tourists in the world by far. In the Middle East, 31 percent of countries are sticking to the closures, half of the September figure. The numbers are even lower in the Americas, Europe and Africa, where between 13 percent and 20 percent of borders remain closed.


This is according to a report by the U.N. World Tourism Organization on COVID-19 travel restrictions released this month.


Globally, 29 percent of countries kept their borders closed to travelers, down from 76 percent in May 2020 and 43 percent in September. 34 percent of countries had partially opened, according to the latest report, and 36 percent accepted travelers under certain testing and quarantine regiments. Only 1 percent of global borders were classified as open without any COVID-19 restriction by the UNWTO. This translates to three countries: Albania, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.


According to the report, complete border closures remained in place in 63 countries, down from a high of 165 in May 2020. Many countries that did not ease restrictions had vaccination rates of less than 20 percent of the population and a low or moderate dependence on tourism, according to the UNWTO. 90 percent of those with complete border closures were emerging economies.


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