Due to the gradual easing of restrictions within the European Union, the fast vaccination rate, and the reopening of borders for more third countries and fully vaccinated travellers from abroad, it is expected that European tourism will rebound for the summer months.
“In view of the rapidly advancing vaccination programmes, which reduce pressure on national health systems and protect our most vulnerable, Europe is now managing the COVID risks well both for locals and our long-awaited travellers. We, therefore, believe that safe travel is possible this summer,” President of ETC Luís Araújo said.
According to the most recent quarterly “European Tourism Trends & Prospects” report published by the European Travel Commission (ETC), travel demand is anticipated to increase in the second half of 2021, whereas the international arrivals will continue to remain 49 per cent below the pre-pandemic level registered in 2019, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The same report noted that the summer season is crucial for the travel and tourism sector as travel demand within Europe remained relatively low in the first quarter of 2021. Only during the first three months of this year, international tourist arrivals fell 83 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.
“The reopening is also fuelled by the strong desire of people to travel again and secured by the readiness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel experiences. As Europe is opening up, it is imperative that clear and coherent messages are communicated to prospective travellers,” Araújo added.
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Europe Continues to Register Declines in Foreign Tourist Arrivals
Based on ETC’s report, the latest data shows that three in five destinations have registered declines of more than 80 per cent in international tourist arrivals.
In addition, Austria has been one of the countries that suffered the largest decline of visitors due to the strict measures imposed to halt the spread of the COVID-19. Such measures affected the winter tourism sector, which registered a drop of 97 per cent in tourist arrivals to the Alpine country.
On the other hand, Croatia has had a better year, outperforming other countries by registering a 23 per cent increase in visitor arrivals. The country was one of the first to remove the entry restrictions imposed against international travellers provided they had been immunised against the disease, presented a negative test result, or had recovered from the virus.
“The latest forecast shows that intra-European travel will account for 83 per cent of Europe’s inbound arrivals in 2021 compared to 77 per cent in 2019,” the statement of ETC indicates.
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Europe Soon to Reach Travel Recovery
Travel within the European Union Member States is anticipated to strengthen travel demand during the second half of 2021 as long as the epidemiological situation continues to improve and the governments gradually ease the restrictions.
According to ETC, the most recent figures have indicated that intra-European travel will account for around 83 per cent of inbound arrivals in Europe during 2020 compared to the figures of 77 per cent registered in 2019.
Further, with the EU Digital COVID Certificate being fully functional since July 1, the travel demand during this summer’s months is projected to take up.
On the other hand, long-haul travel is expected to recover more slowly, with the US market being the most significant contributor to the European travel demand growth during the next few years.
Previously, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that the European travel and tourism sector suffered a financial decrease of 51.4 per cent last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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