COVID passports, vaccines helped EU tourism recovery - U.N.

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Visitors queue to check the COVID-19 health certificates, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the entrance of a Christmas market on the Sechselaeutenplatz square, in Zurich, Switzerland November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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MADRID, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Widespread use of COVID-19 "passports" and vaccines helped tourism recover faster in the European Union than in other parts of the world in the third quarter of 2021, a U.N. report said on Monday.

Globally, international tourist arrivals rose 58% between July and September compared with the same period in 2020, the U.N. World Tourism Organisation barometer said. That was still 64% below the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

In Europe, international tourist arrivals were just 53% down from the 2019 summer season.

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"The uplift in demand was driven by increased traveller confidence amid rapid progress on vaccinations and the easing of entry restrictions in many destinations," the report said.

"In Europe, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, releasing large-pent up demand after many months of restricted travel."

In the first nine months of the year, arrivals were still 76% below pre-pandemic levels across the world.

The Americas recorded the strongest results between January-September, with arrivals up 1% compared with 2020 - still 65% below 2019 levels.

The different paces in recovery across the world were due to "varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveller confidence," the report said.

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Reporting by Graham Keeley Editing by Mark Heinrich and Andrew Heavens

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