OMICRON DISRUPTION, A TEMPORARY PHENOMENON WITH LITTLE IMPACT?
In 2021, strong vaccination coverage in Europe, the EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate and the easing of travel restrictions which allowed the release of large-pent up demand, set the grounds for tourism revival. However, the emergence of the Omicron variant at the year-end weighed on this recovery and brought back mobility restrictions due to record-breaking infection rates.
Year-to-date data informs estimates of a 62% decrease in tourist arrivals to Europe in 2021 over 2019 levels. The outlook, however, remains positive, with travel demand projected to be just 20% below pre-pandemic levels in 2022, fuelled by domestic and intra-European travel demand. Domestic travel is expected to exceed pre-pandemic peaks in 2022, while international travel will not do so until 2024.
Latest data shows that reporting destinations continue to recover at varying rates, with 65% posting declines in tourist arrivals below the weighted average, which stands at -62%. Croatia (-37%), France (-39%) and Monaco (-40%) saw the softest declines based on data to December, owing to demand from large neighbouring source markets.