EU Tourism Recovered In 2021 After End of Pandemic Restrictions

In 2021, tourism was among the sectors that started recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, following the easing of related restrictions on travel as well as other measures. Photo credit: Freepik

EU / CZ , March 23 (BD) – In 2021, the number of nights spent at EU tourist accommodation establishments totalled 1.8 billion, up by 27% compared with 2020, but down by 37% compared with 2019.   

Graphic: Eurostat, Source datasets: tour_occ_ninat / tour_occ_nim

Number of nights in 2021 move closer to 2019 figures

The number of nights of accommodation increased in 2021 compared with 2020 in the majority of EU Member States. The largest increases were recorded in Greece, Spain and Croatia, with surges of over 70%, showing signs of recovery in the tourism sector. On the other hand, Latvia, Slovakia and Austria saw decreases of up to 18%.  

Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions starting in March 2020, the number of nights spent in accommodation during the period March to December 2020 was already down compared with the same period in 2019. For a more accurate picture of 2021 month-by-month data, this is also compared with the pre-Covid 2019 respective periods. Graphic source: Eurostat.

Comparing the number of nights spent in accommodation in 2021 with the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the biggest slumps are seen in Latvia, Slovakia, Malta and Hungary, with drops exceeding 50%. At the other end of the scale, Denmark and the Netherlands reported drops of less than 20%. These figures are far less dramatic than the figures for 2020 compared with 2019. 

Non-residents of the country spent more nights in 2021 compared with 2020

Compared with 2020, there was an increase of 3 percentage points in the share of nights spent by non-residents of the country (from 29% in 2020 to 32% in 2021). 

This increase was attributed to the share of guests from other EU countries (from 21% in 2020 to 24% in 2021), while the share of guests from the rest of Europe and the rest of the world stayed the same (5% and 3%, respectively). 

On the other hand, when comparing 2021 with pre-pandemic figures (2019), all EU countries recorded a decrease in non-resident guests. Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic took the biggest hit, recording drops of more than 75%, while Croatia and Luxembourg were the least affected, recording drops of less than 45%.

Intra-EU tourism began recovering faster than tourism from outside the EU

Domestic tourism restarted faster than incoming tourism. Beyond this, nights spent by residents of other EU countries also began recovering faster than tourism from outside the EU. 

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