Europe’s travel industry recovering, but slow vaccine roll-out in east not helpingReading Time: 1 minute
A report by a European travel industry group says Europe’s travel industry is recovering this year, but the continent has a long way to go before it will see pre Covid pandemic levels of guest arrivals. While the 2021 summer tourism season saw decent numbers, according to the latest report by the European Travel Commission (ETC), Europe will only likely see anything beyond 2019 figures by 2024.
As a region, Europe has the highest rate of vaccination in the world, and vaccination has helped the tourism sector rebound, says the ETC report. Meanwhile, vaccine roll-outs have facilitated foreign tourists being able to come to Europe during summer. The European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate allowed them to travel within regions; in fact, such travellers accounted for 85% of international arrivals this year. Still, ETC notes that confusion regarding COVID-19 measures in individual countries and the EU’s travel system kept some travellers away.
Meanwhile, international tourist arrivals are down 77% for 2021, the group says, with travellers from both China and the US, which are considered “long-haul source markets”, down by 90% this year.
The ETC notes that the slower vaccine rollout in Eastern Europe (and a surge in infections) is delaying travel industry recovery. In Central and Eastern Europe, arrivals to Croatia were down by 37% compared to 2019, while Czechia saw a much more severe drop of 94% due to strict covid restrictions. Meanwhile, hotel occupancy in Slovenia is reported to be 70%.
“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.” said ETC president, Luís Araújo.
By year-end, the ETC’s forecast predicts 60% fewer international arrivals than before the pandemic.