Is Europe on the brink of a tourism recovery?
Chalkmarks: Sicily, Italy

Visitors set to reach 80% of pre-pandemic levels

With the vaccinated desperate to get away and bookings surging to popular holiday hotspots, there’s optimism Europe’s holiday industry is readying itself for a restart, as it emerges from two lost summers.

New data from the European Travel Commission has forecast tourist arrivals this year will reach 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

Its figures also reveal how different countries across the continent are already recovering, with some doing better than others. Croatia (63%), France (61%) and Monaco (60%) are seeing higher numbers of tourists while Finland (20%), Czechia (19%), Latvia (22%), Estonia (23%), Slovakia (24%) and Lithuania (26%) have seen a slump in visitors. 

In a further boost to the continent the ETC predicts the numbers of US tourists will return to pre-pandemic levels “relatively quickly” in 2022 – helping to drive Europe’s tourism recovery.

Visitors from Asia are expected to come back later in the year. 

While a full recovery of international travel is not anticipated until 2024, Luís Araújo, ETC’s president, said the travel outlook for Europe was positive for 2022 but warned that recovery relied on restrictions being lifting.

He said: “ETC is optimistic that the European travel sector will overcome Omicron and the many other challenges present in 2022. However, the sector’s resilience is contingent on the EU being proactive in the development of endemic strategies that will allow for the loosening of travel restrictions for intra-European and international travel alike.”