Twenty-two percent of destinations worldwide have started to ease travel restrictions, led by Europe. However, borders remain completely closed at 65% of all destinations globally, according to the latest World Tourism Organization research.

The fifth edition of UNWTO’s ‘COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism,’ show the sector is slowly restarting, though this restart is significantly more pronounced in some regions.

Change from 100% of destinations closed in late April

At one point, on April 28, UNWTO reported 100% of destinations had travel restrictions.

According to UNWTO, as of June 15, 48 destinations, or 22%, had eased travel restrictions, up from just seven destinations on May 18. Destinations that have eased travel restrictions number 37 in Europe, including 24 of the 26 Schengen member states.

Others easing restrictions are six destinations in the Americas, including five small island developing states, three Asia-Pacific destinations including two small island developing states, and two destinations in Africa.

One-quarter of destinations have had restrictions for 19 weeks

At the same time, the UNWTO report makes clear that many destinations are maintaining a cautious approach. As of June 15, 24% of all destinations worldwide, or 51 destinations, have had travel restrictions in place for 19 weeks and 37%, or 80 destinations, for 15 weeks.

In total, 65% of destinations, or 141, continue to have closed borders. That includes 85% of African destinations. 76% of destinations in the Americas, 67% of destinations in Asia-Pacific and 92% of destinations in the Middle East. In Europe, these full border closures are now reduced to 26% of destinations.

The changes are reflected in some river and a few ocean cruises resuming in Europe on a limited basis, for certain nationalities.