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European Tourism 2021 – Trends & Prospects (Q3/2021)

Publication date:
Nov 2021


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European destinations’ efforts to fuel a much-needed travel rebound materialised over the peak summer season

International tourist arrivals to Europe were down 77% half-way through the year relative to 2019[1]. A few European destinations enjoyed a better-than-expected summer season attributed to improving vaccination coverage, the EU Digital COVID Certificate and relaxed restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign travellers, especially from the US. Destinations with draconian restrictions in place, those strongly dependent on long-haul markets or islands that heavily relied on isolation have struggled to reopen.

Although European travel demand is poised for a major recovery, volumes are still far from the pre-pandemic days which are not expected to return until 2024. Downside risks with the potential to further slow recovery remain due to the rampant Delta variant combined with the expected surge in winter flu cases. International tourist arrivals to Europe are forecast to be 60% below 2019 by the end of 2021[2].

[1] January-July 2021 – UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

[2] Tourism Economics