In Photos, Popular Tourist Cities Around the World Slowly Welcoming Back Visitors

Tourism has faced significant challenges in recent years, from concerns over the industry's environmental impact to the exodus of locals.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has shocked the industry to unprecedented levels, due to travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers.

The resulting global health, social and economic emergency has led to an anticipated 70 percent decline in international tourism, according to the UN's World Tourism Organization, returning the industry to levels last seen 30 years ago.

However, with an accelerating vaccination program, these photos show countries are now slowly adapting to life under coronavirus and reopening their cities to tourists.


European travel remains unavailable for American tourists as the European Union's ban on nonessential travel from the U.S. continues. But visitors from closer to home are helping some of the continent's great cities reopen. Here's just a few...

Athens, Greece

More than 34 million tourists visited the Greek capital in 2019, with the city still dominated by ancient landmarks the Acropolis and the colonnaded Parthenon temple.

Athens, Greece
Tourist wearing a face mask stands in front of the Parthenon temple as the Acropolis archaeological site opens to visitors in Athens, Greece. Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

London, England

Approximately 21 million people visited England's historic capital in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

Historic landmarks punctuate this most modern of cities, with attractions including the Houses of Parliament, the Big Ben clock tower and Westminster Abbey competing with a wealth of museums and cultural sites.

London, England
A tourist poses for a photo in front of Tower Bridge whilst wearing a protective mask in London, England Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Paris, France

The were more than 35 million tourist hotel arrivals in Paris in 2019, with many visitors to this hub of art, fashion and food likely eager to see the Eiffel Tower and the stunning Notre-Dame cathedral.

Paris, France
A woman wearing a protective mask walks her dog on the Esplanade du Trocadero square in front of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Rome, Italy

Almost 29 million overnight stays where made by tourists visiting this most ancient of cities in 2019.

Rome, Italy
A tourist wearing a protective mask passes by the Coliseum in Rome, Italy ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S.

Americans make an estimated 2.3 billion domestic trips a year, with about 80 million international visitors to the country every year, helping support up to 16 million jobs.

While the pandemic will keep those numbers down for a while yet, cities are beginning to reawaken.

Los Angeles

California 's Los Angeles witnessed a record number of visitors in 2019, when more than 50 million tourists descended on this glamorous city to spot A-list celebrities, the Hollywood sign and array of movie studios.

Los Angeles, California
A tourists takes photos with snow-capped mountains standing behind the skyline of downtown of the city in Los Angeles, California Mario Tama/Getty Images

Las Vegas

More than 42 million people visited Las Vegas in 2019, with many tourists drawn to The Strip's bright lights and excitement and the nearby Grand Canyon National Park.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Tourists are wearing masks as they walk on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada amid the coronavirus pandemic. Daniel SLIM / AFP/Getty Images

New York City

New York attracted almost 67 million tourists in 2019, with the Empire State Building, Central Park and Broadway theaters top of many people's to-do lists.

New York
A police officer crosses the street in a nearly empty Times Square in New York, United States. Many New Yorkers are heeding the advice of officials and practise social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Asia and the Middle East

Despite the successive waves of coronavirus infections, many Asian countries have kept new case counts and death tolls relatively low.

The Middle East region is beginning to open up to tourism once again.

Bangkok, Thailand

Almost 40 million tourists visited Bangkok in 2019, making Thailand's capital one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia.

The sprawling city is popular for its sacred shrines and bustling street life.

Bangkok, Thailand
Workers clean the exterior of Bang Khae Market, following positive coronavirus tests, in Bangkok, Thailand Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP/Getty Images

Delhi, India

More than 15 million tourists made the journey to India's capital in 2019, with Imperial residence the Red Fort and 16th century Humayun's Tomb particular popular with sightseers.

New Delhi, India
Tourists visit the Qutub Minar archaeological complex in New Delhi, India SAMAD / AFP/Getty Images

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai witnessed the arrival of a record 16 million tourists in 2019, with this cutting-edge city and emirate associated with luxury retail and ultramodern architecture.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The AID Avita cruise ship anchored off the new harbour in front of Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, United Arab Emirates. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong, China

Almost 56 million people still visited the city in 2019, despite social upheaval adversely affecting Hong Kong's tourism sector.

Top attractions in Hong Kong include the 34m-tall Tian Tan Buddha and observation deck Victoria Peak where some of the city's 1,500 skyscrapers are on view.

Hong Kong
A boy looks out over Cape Collinson Chinese Cemetery as people visit to pay respects to their departed loved ones to mark the Ching Ming Festival, also known as tomb-sweeping day, near the Chai Wan area of Hong Kong PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Istanbul, Turkey

A record 45 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2019, with tourists eager to savour the atmosphere of a historic city that straddles Europe and Asia.

Istanbul, Turkey
Tourists enter the grounds of the Blue mosque in front of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Approximately 26 million tourists visited Malaysia's capital in 2019, a city famed for its 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers dominating its most-modern skyline.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A tourist poses for a picture, with the view of the city in the background, from the Sky Box at KL Tower, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Mohd RASFAN / AFP/Getty Images


More than 19 million tourists flocked to the sovereign island of Singapore in 2019, best known for its luxurious Marina Bay Sands resort and family-friendly attractions.

People walk with sun umbrellas across a bridge near Marina Bay Sands hotels and resorts centre in Singapore ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP/Getty Images

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan is increasingly popular with tourists, with the city sees the arrival of more than 15 million travelers in 2019 alone.

Japan's busy capital is famed for mixing the ultramodern with the deeply traditional, while the city is set to host the delayed Olympics this year.

Tokyo, Japan
The Olympic rings are seen in front of Tokyo's iconic Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower at Odaiba Marine Park, in Tokyo, Japan Clive Rose/Getty Images