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International Travel Restrictions Are Now In Place Across All Countries For First Time

For the first time in history borders have been closed to international travel in all destinations worldwide.

According to new research undertaken by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), all global destinations (a total of 217) continue to have restrictions in place and 76% of them (156 countries) have completely closed their borders to international travel with passengers not permitted to enter at all.

Image - Heathrow Airport

Exemptions exist only for returning nationals and residents, diplomats and for any essential reason. Meanwhile, a small percentage (only 10 countries) have partially closed their borders which has meant a severe restriction in the number of entry points.

The various regions of the world have differing amounts of total closure, as follows: 83% of destinations in Europe; 80% of destinations in the Americas; 70% of destinations in Asia and the Pacific; 62% of destinations in the Middle East; and 57% of destinations in Africa.

All these travel restrictions not only apply to tourism but all international travel which has put a complete stop on all corporate travel for the time being. The use of Zoom and other web based video communications systems have become the means for most companies to conduct business with audio conferencing, chat and webinars.

It is widely believed that nothing will ever replace face to face discussions and as countries start to open their borders, businesses will need to start to evaluating whether the new normal of video conferences is good enough or whether the need for personal travel will be too strong. A poll of over 100 corporate travel managers who work for BCD Travel clients found over two in five said they expected business travel to return to former levels this year, with just 10% predicting it would not fully return until at least 2022, while 3% predicted it would never return to former levels.