International tourism continued its recovery in January 2022, with a much better performance compared to the weak start to 2021.

However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine adds pressure to existing economic uncertainties, coupled with many Covid-related travel restrictions still in place. Overall confidence could be affected and hamper the recovery of tourism.

Based on the latest available data, global international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) in January 2022 compared to 2021 – the 18 million more visitors recorded worldwide in the first month of this year equals the total increase for the whole of 2021.

While these figures confirm the positive trend already underway last year, the pace of recovery in January was impacted by the emergences of the Omicron variant and the re-introduction of travel restrictions in several destinations. Following the 71% decline of 2021, international arrivals in January 2022 remained 67% below pre-pandemic levels.

All regions enjoyed a significant rebound in January 2022, though from low levels recorded at the start of 2021. Europe (+199%) and the Americas (+97%) continued to post the strongest results, with international arrivals still around half pre-pandemic levels (-53% and -52%, respectively).

The Middle East (+89%) and Africa (+51%) also saw growth in January 2022 over 2021, but these regions saw a drop of 63% and 69% respectively compared to 2019.

While Asia and the Pacific recorded a 44% year-on-year increase, several destinations remained closed to non-essential travel resulting in the largest decrease in international arrivals over 2019 (-93%).

Prospects for recovery

After the unprecedented drop of 2020 and 2021, international tourism is expected to continue its gradual recovery in 2022. As of 24 March, 12 destinations had no Covid-19 related restrictions in place and an increasing number of destinations were easing or lifting travel restrictions, which contributes to unleashing pent-up demand.

The war in Ukraine poses new challenges to the global economic environment and risks hampering the return of confidence in global travel. The US and the Asian source markets, which have started to open up, could be particularly impacted especially regarding travel to Europe, as these markets are historically more risk averse.

The shutdown of Ukrainian and Russian airspace, as well as the ban on Russian carriers by many European countries is affecting intra-European travel. It is also causing detours in long-haul flights between Europe and East Asia, which translates into longer flights and higher costs.

Russia and Ukraine accounted for a combined 3% of global spending on international tourism in 2020 and at least US$ 14 billion in global tourism receipts could be lost if the conflict is prolonged. The importance of both markets is significant for neighbouring countries, but also for European sun and sea destinations.

The Russian market also gained significant weight during the pandemic for long haul destinations such as Maldives, Seychelles or Sri Lanka. As destinations Russia and Ukraine accounted for 4% of all international arrivals in Europe but only 1% of Europe’s international tourism receipts in 2020.

Economic uncertainty and pressures

Even though it is too early to assess the impact, air travel searches and bookings across various channels showed a slowdown the week after the invasion but started to rebound in early March.

It is certain that the offensive will add further pressure to already challenging economic conditions, undermining consumer confidence and raising investment uncertainty. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates global economic growth could be more than 1% lower this year than previously projected, while inflation, already high at the start of the year, could be at least a further 2,5% higher.

The recent spike in oil prices (Brent reached its highest levels in 10 years), and rising inflation are making accommodation and transport services more expensive, adding extra pressure on businesses, consumer purchasing power and savings, UNWTO notes.

This forecast is in line with the analysis on the potential consequences of the conflict on global economic recovery and growth by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which has also downgraded its projection for world economic growth in 2022 from 3,6% to 2,6% and warned that developing countries will be most vulnerable to the slowdown.

 

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  1. v 1

Details are as follows:

Eligibility: Any player/team affiliated to a South African tertiary institution may enter.

Entry fee: Entry is R100.00 per Registered Player. To enter, the club must complete the Google Drive document. The entry form may be found on Google Drive. Clubs are to download the entry form, completed the downloaded form, and e-mail it to Mind Sports South Africa. The link for such form is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_ERR6815uVjSMu4t5KkRxYqGJ_AA88kkz31qRgksASc/edit#gid=287696184

Entry date: Entries need to be submitted by no later than Monday, 8 April 2022.

Registration: To register, players must complete the entry form.

Age restrictions: Age restrictions per game title shall be enforced.

When and Where: The first round will start at 10H00. Players shall be given 60 minutes to complete each round.

Rules and Regulations: All Rules and Regulations pertaining to eSports are available from MSSA. Players are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with the LAN League Bylaws and all Period Specific Rules. If any Player wishes to provide advice regarding the drafting of the Period Specific Rules they are encouraged to contact MSSA who will take all comments into account.

The following medals may be awarded at MSSA’s 2020 Provincial Online Student Championships:

* MIXED: Medals shall be awarded to the first three players who are currently registered at any officially recognized University.

* WOMEN: Women will be awarded medals as per the same basis as above.

Colours and National Team Trials:

All Players that win all of their Matches at a Provincial Championship will earn Student Provincial Colours. All Players who score within the top 50% in a specific Period at a Provincial Championship, and who also score within the top 50% at a National Championship in the same period and in the same year, will earn Student Provincial Colours.

Registered Players wishing to shout-cast the event, must please contact Marisa van der Westhuizen at: mindsportscorrespondence@gmail.com.