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

Publication date:
Nov 2020


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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 Covid-19 cases. Governments have been prompted to re-impose curfews and travel restrictions while bars and restaurants sit empty in most affected areas. Effective test-trace-isolate systems are widely recognised as the most effective way to curb the spread of the virus and preferable to economically damaging measures (e.g. full lockdowns).

International tourist arrivals to Europe were down 68%[1] the first eight months of the year relative to 2019. Heightened uncertainty and risks tilted to the downside (e.g. evolution of the pandemic, further lockdowns, consumer confidence, economic recession, etc.) continue to dampen the outlook with European arrivals set to decline 61%[2] in 2020. Domestic travel is likely to bounce back faster, achieving 2019 levels by 2022, whereas overall travel volumes are now projected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

[1] World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

[2] Tourism Economics