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ETC’s response to COVID-19

ETC is continuously monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the tourism industry. We are working closely with the European Commission, and other stakeholders in the sector to mitigate the effects of the crisis and pave the way towards a swift recovery. Additionally, we have joined forces with our associate members and partners to provide useful webinars and data to help NTOs and DMOs navigate challenges now and in post-crisis times. Please see below ETC’s response to the crisis, as well as further information from our members, the EU and other trusted resources.

Latest Figures and Reports

  • The hope of summer getaways is encouraging travel sentiment in Europeans, as a majority (56%) say they will go on holiday by the end of August 2021. By comparison, only 27% of respondents are still unwilling to travel within the next six months. Of them, 49% are willing to travel to another European country, while 36% opt for staycations. That is according to the ETC’s latest report “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 6 (6 April 2021).
  • UNWTO reports (31 March 2021) that the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global tourism has carried on into 2021, with new data showing an 87% fall in international tourist arrivals in January as compared to 2020. Europe recorded an 85% decrease in arrivals in January 2021. More latest numbers are available in the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker.
  • ETC’s latest quarterly report “European Tourism: Trends & Prospects” for Q4 2020 (11 February 2021) shows that all reporting European destinations recorded declines in tourists arrivals between 51%-85% in 2020, with 1 in 3 destinations posting declines ranging from 70% to 79%. Despite distribution challenges which have plagued the EU in recent weeks, the roll-out of vaccines across Europe and improved testing and tracing regimes provide some hope for the relaxation of travel restrictions in 2021. Nevertheless, the return to typical international travel demand patterns will be gradual with 2019 levels predicted to return by 2023.
  • According to the ninth edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report (8 March 2021), 32% of all destinations worldwide (69 in total) are completely closed for international tourism. Of these destinations, 30 are in Asia and the Pacific, 15 are in Europe, 11 are in Africa, 10 are in the Americas and three are in the Middle East. At the same time, 34% of worldwide destinations are now partially closed to international tourists.
  • EUROCONTROL reports (1 January 2021) that European air traffic for 2020 closed out at -55% of 2019 levels. In total, 5.0 million flights operated in 2020 compared with 11.1 in 2019, a loss of 6.1 million flights. European traffic for the whole of 2021 is expected to recover to 51% of 2019 levels, with faster recovery foreseen from the summer onwards.
  • OECD now estimates (16 December 2020) international tourism will fall by around 80% in 2020. No meaningful recovery in international tourism flows is foreseen until well into 2021, and is likely to take some years.
  • The latest figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (6 November 2020) show that 18.8 million jobs in Europe (11.5 million in the EU) have already been impacted in the travel & tourism sector in 2020. WTTC also launched a data dashboard highlighting the recovery of travel demand across flights and hotels, as well as revealing the shifting intentions of travellers through online travel searches.
  • ETC associate member ADARA has been monitoring on a weekly basis the impact of COVID-19 on travel searches and bookings to Europe. See the latest update here.
  • ETC associate member SOJERN also provides insights on changes in flight searches and hotel volume. See the latest data below. For further explanations of the insights check here
We are Europe

ETC’s Engagement with EU Policy-makers & Stakeholders

  • ETC is co-organising together with the European Commission a weekly ad-hoc informal network to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and the response required by both public and private sectors. The outcomes of the regular discussions of this network are transmitted to the cabinet of the Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, as part of the briefings guiding the European Commission Coronavirus response team. ETC has already hosted over 30 meetings of the group.
  • ETC is also closely cooperating with EU tourism stakeholders through the European Tourism Manifesto alliance. The alliance gathers more than 60 European public and private organisations, covering the whole tourism value chain and beyond. ETC is one of the founding organisations of the European Tourism Manifesto and currently holds the Secretariat and Chairmanship.
    • In October 2020, the European Tourism Manifesto alliance issued a statement urging EU Member States to make tourism a strategic element in their national recovery plans in order to harness the potential of the sector to generate jobs and growth, and to reap the benefits from green and digital transitions.
    • On 9th February, the alliance published a detailed paper presenting a non-exhaustive list of reforms and investment ideas related to travel and tourism that would contribute to making EU countries’ economies more resilient. These tourism-related investments are grouped according to the EU flagship initiatives listed in the European Commission’s Guidance to Member States on Recovery and Resilience Plans and can be integrated in the national recovery plans.
    • Following the publication of the paper on investment proposals and reforms, the alliance has launched a campaign called #Tourism4Recovery to raise awareness of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis on European tourism and showcase how investment in sustainable tourism can be the driver of EU recovery. More information on how to get involved in this campaign here.
    • On 25th February, the alliance published a series of joint recommendations for EU Member States on how to restore freedom of movement in Europe in time for summer 2021.
    • On 17th March 2021, the travel and tourism stakeholders in the alliance welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a Digital Green Certificate and called for its fast approval and implementation. In their statement, the stakeholders also reiterated the urgent need to develop a concrete EU roadmap to restore freedom of movement.
    • Other latest statements on COVID-19 tourism recovery and support measures can be found here.
  • ETC together with over 20 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe united in an unprecedented call for European Commission leadership to replace quarantine restrictions with an EU Testing Protocol for Travel in a bid to save the livelihoods of more than 27 million Europeans who work in the sector.
  • ETC actively participated in the European Tourism Convention organised by the European Commission on October 12. ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander was appointed as a rapporteur for the workshop on Safe & Seamless Tourism Experiences.
  • ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander participated in high-level virtual meetings with EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton and a small group of key EU tourism stakeholders. ETC has called on the Commissioner to invest in brand Europe and a Europe-wide tourism campaign, promoting the force of travel to help the local communities and save tourism in Europe.
  • ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander also took part in a digital meeting with Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean to support the Commission’s efforts in coming up with an integrated concept on how to restart transport links for the benefit of tourism.
  • ETC is also participating in the Travel & Tourism Task Force on COVID-19 organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander represents the European tourism sector and exchanges the latest updates with major international public and private stakeholders, including UNWTO, OECD, PATA, ICAO, ACI and CLIA.
  • Moreover, ETC is actively engaging in media communications to stress the impact of the COVID-19 on the European tourism sector and highlight the importance of the coordinated approach to recovery in Europe. ETC’s interviews/comments/statement were featured in The Washington Post, Politico, Euronews, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Euractiv, NBC, BBC World News, CNBC, CGTN, TRT World, The Wall Street Journal, Agence Europe and other press outlets.

ETC COVID-19 Research

Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 6

TRAVEL SENTIMENT IS WARMING UP WITH SUMMER IN SIGHT, BUT EUROPEANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THEIR HOLIDAYS 56% of Europeans are feeling positive about taking their…

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Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 5

EUROPEANS PIN HOPES ON EARLY SUMMER VACATIONS TO BEAT THE LOCKDOWN FATIGUE 54% of Europeans aim to make a trip before the end of July 2021, revealing the strong pent-up…

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European Tourism 2020 – Trends & Prospects (Q4/2020)

2020: ANNUS HORRIBILIS FOR THE GLOBAL TOURISM SECTOR Struck by the global health crisis, international tourist arrivals to Europe dropped 70% in 2020 over 2019, and it now holds a…

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Long-Haul Travel Barometer 1/2021

Results from the latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer 1/2021 (LHTB) indicate a slight revitalisation in people’s intention for overseas trips between January-April 2021. However, as Europe’s entry bans are still in…

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Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 4

EUROPEANS INCREASINGLY EAGER TO TRAVEL DURING SPRING 2021 AS COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT BEGINS 32% of respondents indicated that they intend to take a trip during April-June 2021, a 20% rise…

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Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 3

EUROPEANS’ DESIRE TO TRAVEL DETERIORATES AHEAD OF THE APPROACHING WINTER HOLIDAYS 49% of respondents indicated that they intend to travel before mid-2021 while uncertainty about the exact timing of their…

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Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 2

EUROPEANS MAINTAIN A ROBUST DESIRE TO TRAVEL, PLANNING 2021 TRIPS DESPITE COVID-19 SECOND WAVE Despite the resurgence of the pandemic in Europe, 54% of respondents indicated that they will take…

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European Tourism 2020 – Trends & Prospects (Q3/2020)

Fears over a second wave of Covid-19 infections into the autumn months materialise in Europe The easing of pandemic restrictions is being reversed as European destinations see a surge in…

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Long-Haul Travel Barometer 3/2020

The latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) indicates a positive shift in people’s attitudes to overseas travel in September-December 2020. Still, it will take a long time before confidence for travel…

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Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 1

EUROPEANS STILL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT TRAVEL BUT THEIR PLANS MAY BE HAMPERED BY HEALTH CONCERNS AND INTENSIFYING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS More than 1 in 2 respondents indicated that they intend to take…

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Handbook on COVID-19 Recovery Strategies for National Tourism Organisations

As businesses and communities rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be vital to ensure that this recovery takes place in a way that reduces the negative impacts of tourism…

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European Tourism 2020 – Trends & Prospects (Q2/2020)

COVID-19 HAS WREAKED HAVOC ON EUROPEAN TRAVEL DEMAND The impact of the global health crisis is becoming clear with European tourism growth expected to remain below 2019 levels until 2023….

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Long-Haul Travel Barometer 2/2020

Results of the latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) indicate that confidence for travel to Europe in summer 2020 is weak across all six markets monitored. What is significant, however, is…

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European Tourism 2020 – Trends & Prospects (Q1/2020)

EUROPEAN TOURISM AMIDST AN UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS Containment efforts across Europe due to the Coronavirus outbreak have left countries struggling to support their economies and have taken a severe toll on…

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ETC Members

Please see below general information, health and travel guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic from ETC member organisations and their respective national governments.

ETC Webinar Series

ETC has partnered up with its associate members & partners to produce a series of webinars for our members and travel and tourism professionals during the months of April and May. The webinars aim to provide new data on the current tourism landscape, tips for crisis management, and upskilling opportunities. Click below to see recordings and presentations from previous webinars.

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