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Handbook on Tourism Forecasting Methodologies

Publication date:
Mar 2021





The knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unprecedented in scale and duration. In 2020 global international travel fell by 74% over the previous year, while the decline in Europe was of 70%. Europe’s path to recovery will be gradual with pre-pandemic levels only reached fully by 2023. This recovery will require a strong adaptation and fast responses from the tourism sector and a stronger commitment among society, businesses and institutions at a local, regional and international level.

The primary goal of forecasting is to predict the future which may seem an easy task when events are regular and follow simple patterns. However, in the travel and tourism sector, travel demand can be a difficult variable to predict provided the number of external factors that are involved (e.g. economic conditions, natural disasters, terror attacks, fuel prices, geopolitical environment, etc.).

An accurate prediction of tourist arrivals, overnights, expenditure, and other tourism indicators, remains essential for a number of reasons, such as effective business decisions, year over year planning, consumer satisfaction or for monitoring and benchmarking purposes. Accurately predicting tourism demand within a destination can also provide indications for implementing targeted marketing and promotional campaigns, managing tourist flows or addressing sustainability matters. These efforts can ultimately result in better decision-making, improved productivity and increased tourism satisfaction for both travellers and locals.