Darkness and light7 April 2021
/ Last year was a dark period for tourism in Europe, however the positive outlook among Europeans regarding travel is growing: this is the conclusion of 2 recent reports from the European Travel Commission /
How disastrous was 2020 for tourism in Europe? And how much do Europeans want to start travelling again? Two authoritative reports answer these questions with numbers that speak for themselves, both published by the European Travel Commission (ETC), an association of National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) that was created immediately after the Second World War, and whose purpose is to promote Europe as a tourist destination. It currently has 33 member NTOs, including 7 from outside the EU.
The ETC’s most recent edition of the ‘European Tourism Trends & Prospects’ quarterly report covering quarter 4 of 2020 and published last month looks in the first part, through numbers and graphs, at the devasting demise of tourism in 2020 struck by the global health crisis and properly called ‘annus horribilis’.
International tourist arrivals to Europe dropped 70% in 2020 compared to 2019. All reporting European destinations experienced record falls in arrivals between 51% and 85% in 2020 (see Graphs 1 and 2), with 1 in 3 destinations posting declines ranging from 70% to 79%. When digging deeper into the countries which rely heavily on international markets, the results are even more stark, with Montenegro recording a decline of 85%, Cyprus at 84% and Romania at 83%. In Spain, where tourism accounts for a significant 12% of the country’s GDP, the loss of arrivals from its key markets (UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy) has seen the country record a 77% decline in international tourist arrivals. On the other end of the spectrum, Austria (-53%) recorded one of the smallest falls in arrivals although the spike in infection rates in recent weeks led to a tourism blanket ban until February 2021.
Tourism however also means hospitality, one of the hardest-hit sectors, with a plunge in demand causing many hotels to remain closed throughout most of 2020, recording a 54% decline in occupancy levels. Across Europe…
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