In the Americas, 92% of destinations have taken steps to temporarily shut tourist destinations, while in Europe, the proportion is 93%. Credit: Handout.

Never in the history of the modern world — not even during the Second World War — has this ever happened.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has issued a new report showing just how devastating the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has been on world travel, Rich Thomaselli of Travel Pulse reported.

The report notes that almost all global destinations have imposed restrictions or complete bans on travel since January 2020, when reports of Covid-19 first appeared.

Now the UNWTO says its research found that 96% of all worldwide destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists — 90 different destinations have completely closed to tourists, while 44 more are closed to certain tourists depending on the country of origin, the report said.

“Covid-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before in history. Governments have put public health first and introduced full or partial restrictions on travel,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement.

“With tourism suspended, the benefits the sector brings are under threat: millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back. UNWTO, therefore, calls on governments to continuously review travel restrictions and ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.”

In Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East, 100% of destinations have adopted Covid-19-related restrictions since January 2020, the report said.

In the Americas, 92% of destinations have taken similar steps, while in Europe, the proportion is 93%.

The level of restrictions has ranged from complete or partial closure of borders to tourists; destination-specific travel restrictions; to the total or partial suspension of flights, the report said.

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