European Tourism Destinations Report Record Numbers as Rebound Continues

European Tourism Destinations Report Record Numbers as Rebound Continues

Oia, Santorini, Greece (Photo by Lauren Breedlove)

Travel to Europe has bounced back in a big way this summer and experts believe the tourism industries in key destinations will continue to rebound in the fall and winter months.

According to data from ForwardKeys, Turkey and Greece exceeded pre-pandemic tourism levels in the peak summer months of July and August, with international visitor air arrivals climbing by nine percent and two percent, respectively.

Air travel across Europe was down by 26 percent compared to 2019, but the outlook for the next three months shows that flight bookings were only down 21 percent compared to pre-pandemic totals.

Bookings for Turkey and Greece jumped 20 percent and five percent ahead, respectively, while Portugal was down only three percent, Iceland was down seven percent and Spain was down 15 percent.

“The recovery from the pandemic has continued despite the travel chaos and capacity reductions caused by staff shortages,” ForwardKeys VP Olivier Ponti said. “Right now, forward bookings for leisure travel show a continued recovery in air travel, post-pandemic; and, encouragingly, business bookings are catching up.”

The best performing city destinations included Istanbul, which saw a two percent increase in flight arrivals, followed by Athens (down by seven percent), Reykjavik (down by eight percent), Porto (down by eight percent) and Malaga (down by 13 percent).

ForwardKeys reported that European destinations could have attracted more visitors if the aviation industry better handled the surge in demand for travel during late spring and early summer. Data showed that intra-European flight bookings would have been five percentage points higher had there been no disruption.

In July, France reported that travelers from the United States helped the country’s tourism numbers nearly reach 2019 pre-pandemic levels, despite the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Data showed that American tourists spent an average of $402 per day while in France and most spent more than $760 per day over a typical 10-day stay.

A report on Italy’s tourism industry from last month revealed an estimated 2.2 million Americans are expected to visit by the end of summer and projected to spend $2.09 billion between July and September, a 20 percent increase from 2019. Italian travel numbers also indicated that international arrivals from Canada, Australia, England and Spain returned to 2019 levels.

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