The Middle East welcomed 15 percent more international tourists in the first three months of 2023 than it did for the same period in 2019, according to the UN World Tourism Organization’s latest data. 

Over 230 million people traveled internationally in the first quarter of 2023, more than double for the same period of 2022 and which is 80 percent of its pre-pandemic level, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.

Europe reached 90 percent of its pre-pandemic level in the quarter. That region’s recovery was driven by strong intra-region demand.  Africa was at 88 percent and the Americas were at about 85 percent. Asia Pacific was at 54 percent, but the UNWTO expects this will accelerate thanks to China’s reopening.

While the global tourism industry heads toward recovery, there are risks ahead. UNWTO experts pointed to the uncertainty around the global economy, high inflation, rising oil prices and the Russia-Ukraine war as factors that could impact the recovery.

UNWTO also revised its 2022 data and found that over 960 million tourists traveled last year, which was two-thirds of its prep-pandemic level.

In 2022, international visitor spending reached 64 percent of its pre-pandemic level.

Tags: china, middle east, overtourism, unwto