Tourist arrivals to Europe likely to be down 60% on 2019 levels

Full recovery not expected before 2024, says tourism marketing body

Skiathos,Greece - the country  recorded the fastest rebound in US visitor numbers, reaching 61 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Photograph: iStock

Skiathos,Greece - the country recorded the fastest rebound in US visitor numbers, reaching 61 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Photograph: iStock

 

International tourist arrivals into Europe are likely to be down 60 per cent on 2019 levels this year, one industry body warns.

The news came as the United States eased restrictions on European visitors, fuelling hopes that long-haul air travel can begin recovering from Covid-19 curbs.

Tourism marketer the European Travel Commission (ETC) predicts in a report published on Tuesday that international visitor arrivals to the region will be down 60 per cent on 2019 by the end of this year.

The number of tourists arriving into Europe was down 77 per cent halfway through 2021, says the body’s quarterly report, European Tourism Trends & Prospects.

Decisions by many European states to allow in vaccinated travellers from the US helped shore up numbers during the summer.

Most flocked to Mediterranean sun spots, with Greece recording the fastest rebound in US visitor numbers, reaching 61 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

“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,” says the report.

Luís Araújo, ETC president, noted that the figures showed the important role vaccination played in aiding travel’s recovery.

“However, vaccination efforts won’t be enough,” he said. “As the winter months approach, it is imperative that Europe strives to further restore the freedom of movement by implementing more holistic and coherent approaches for travel within and outside the EU.”