Impacts of Russian-Ukrainian conflict according to UNWTO

In spring 2022, UNWTO published an issue about the ongoing recovery of world tourism since the beginning of the year. Different aspects of the phenomenon were analysed, with special regards to the new uncertainties due to the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has to be added to the ongoing travel restrictions and the challenging economic environment.

As far as inbound tourism is concerned, there has been a growth of 130% in January 2022 with respect to 2021 levels. However, there are more and more threats to the tourism recovery, especially where the military offensive of Russia against Ukraine has severe consequences on the international markets. Among the several effects of the conflict mentioned in the UNWTO Barometer, we identified the most relevant ones:

1. The conflict is hampering the return of confidence in global travel, especially regarding travel to Europe.
The shutdown of Ukrainian and Russian airspace is affecting intra-European travels.
3. The lack of Russian and Ukrainian consumers in the tourism market could imply a loss of at least $14 billion in tourism receipts.
4. The demand for air travels and bookings slowed down after the beginning of the conflict but started increasing again in early March.
5. The spike in oil prices is not only increasing inflation, but also making transportation and accommodation costs higher, putting pressure on consumers’ purchasing power.
6. The projection for world economic growth in 2022 has downgraded from 3.6% to 2.6%, making developing countries the most vulnerable to the decrease.

At Twissen we observe how countries will have to face both direct and indirect effects of the war. However, the biggest medium and long term impacts of the conflict on world tourism are still to be seen, since they will depend on its duration and strength. 

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