Smashed by coronavirus pandemic, international tourist arrivals declined globally by 65% or 440 million in the first half of the year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). 

As countries closed their borders and introduced travel restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, revenues from international tourism decreased by $460 billion in January-June, the UN tourism body said on Tuesday.

The figure is around five times the loss in international tourism receipts recorded in 2009 amid the global economic and financial crisis, it noted.

The report showed that Asia and the Pacific, the first region to feel the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, was the hardest hit, with a 72% fall in tourists for the six-month period.

It was followed by Europe with a 66% decline in tourist arrivals, the Americas (-55%), and Africa and the Middle East (both -57%).

The UNWTO also reported that 53% of destinations had eased travel restrictions as of early September.

Stressing that safe and responsible international travel is possible in many parts of the world, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili underlined the necessity of coordination among governments and the private sector to get global tourism moving again.

According to the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Turkey a saw 75% year-on-year decline in foreign visitors in the first half of 2020.

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