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The economic injection from opening borders has been a welcome relief, but it may not be sustainable. : Michael Joiner, 360info CC BY 4.0 The economic injection from opening borders has been a welcome relief, but it may not be sustainable. : Michael Joiner, 360info CC BY 4.0

An over-reliance on the tourism industry can be costly. Here’s how some countries are addressing the glaring issues plaguing tourism.

Tourism was one of the world’s biggest employers and fastest growing industries, making up 10 percent of global GDP in 2019. But as borders closed during lockdowns, it became clear an over-reliance could be costly for the millions dependent on it.

Now that international travel has resumed, many destinations are wary a return to business-as-usual may no longer be sustainable. But a shift isn’t easy, or immediate. After two long years, the economic injection from opening borders has been a welcome relief.

Most of the top 10 tourist destinations have at least partially recovered from the pandemic. But not all have recovered at the same pace.

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, said ineffective coordination and a lack of public understanding in conservation efforts had hampered the country’s recovery progress.

“Our hope for the future is that there will be more quality and sustainable tourism visits,” he said this week.

Indonesia will be hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Day forum this month, with the focus on “Rethinking tourism”.

Rethinking one of the world’s major economic sectors will not be easy. But we are already well on the way,” Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO said in a statement.

“In exposing weaknesses, the [COVID-19] crisis showed us where we can build more resilience. And in exposing inequalities, it also showed us where we can deliver more fairness.”


Global international arrivals decreased by 71 percent during the first two years of the pandemic, according to the UNWTO.

In 2022, those numbers have somewhat recovered, but are still down 54 percent globally compared to 2019.

The loss in export revenues from international tourism in 2020 is estimated at US$1.1trillion. It presents 42 percent of the total loss in international trade in 2020.

Research found global tourism accounted for 8 percent of total greenhouse-gas emissions in 2018.


This quote is attributable to Tom Baum from the University of Strathclyde:

“What we’re witnessing are the consequences of long-term structural and cultural cracks that have expanded into chasms since the arrival of COVID-19.”

“Addressing employment issues in tourism requires more than a quick fix. It needs sustainable, coordinated, inclusive responses and to be recognised for its convoluted nature, what economists describe as ‘wicked’.”

This quote is attributable to Can-Seng Ooi, University of Tasmania:

“Post-pandemic tourism should aim to be sustainable for host communities. As society changes, so can an industry.”


Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.

Editors Note: In the story “Tourism economies” sent at: 31/08/2022 11:33.

This is a corrected repeat.

Tasha Wibawa
Tasha Wibawa, Commissioning Editor, 360info Asia-Pacific