Forty per cent of all destinations worldwide have now eased international tourism restrictions, according to the latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

This outlook, reported on July 19, marks a significant increase from the 22 per cent of destinations that had eased travel restrictions by June 15 and the three per cent observed on May 14.

“It confirms the trends of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism,” according to the UNWTO.

However, of the 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions with the remaining 83 retaining some measures such as partial border closures.

The latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report also reveals 115 destinations (53 per cent of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed to tourism.

In the Middle East, the UAE stands out as the country leading tourism recovery, led by Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai.

Ras Al Khaimah in the Northern Emirates was the first city globally to be certified as a ‘safe destination’ by international certification body Bureau Veritas, as well as the first emirate in the UAE to receive the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The stamp is the first global safety and hygiene certification for the travel and tourism industry and specifically designed to combat COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

Other UAE destinations have followed suit, receiving the WTTC stamp and launching their own programmes, with Dubai introducing the ‘Dubai Assured’ stamp for hotels, retail establishments, F&B outlets and tourism attractions after reopening its borders to international tourists on July 7.

Saudi Arabia has received the WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ stamp too, but has focused its initial tourism recovery efforts on the domestic market with the launch of the Saudi Summer campaign, which runs until September 20 and promotes 10 destinations countrywide for residents to visit.