Europe: International Tourism Was Growing at Great Speed Before COVID-19

International tourism in Europe was marking a great performance before the COVID-19 outbreak, also surpassing the levels of domestic tourism.

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According to the data website, Statista, the contrast between international arrivals and domestic arrivals is evident in 2017, when more foreign arrivals were coming to Europe – marking a 7.2 per cent increase. On the other hand, domestic arrivals had stagnated, reports.

“European capitals such as Paris and London represent some of the world’s top travel destinations and have contributed to Europe’s popularity among global tourists. Europe is also home to some of the most welcoming cities on earth, such as Matera in Italy and Bled in Slovenia,” Statista explains.

In 2019, the year-on-year growth rate of international and domestic tourist arrivals stood at 2.6 per cent for foreign arrivals and another 1.8 per cent for domestic arrivals.

The discrepancy between international and domestic arrivals was even more significant in the previous years; a 4.8 per cent increase for international arrivals and merely a 1.2 per cent increase for domestic arrivals in 2018 and 7.2 per cent for international arrivals and 0.3 per cent for domestic arrivals in 2017.

However, domestic tourism experienced a boost during the pandemic years, as travel restrictions limited tourists to visit only nearby places or places with fewer restrictions. Moreover, the post-pandemic situation was characterised by an increasing number of tourists, indicating a strong recovery of the sector, especially throughout 2022.

According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), the appetite for travelling again has improved among internationals, especially in recent months. These findings were concluded from a report by the authority, which included respondents from Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and Russia, among others.

The report reveals that one of the main barriers that are keeping internationals hesitant from booking a trip to Europe is finances.

“With the cost-of-living crisis set to have a crippling impact on household budgets globally this winter, personal finances have become the main reason behind respondents’ (24 per cent) decision not to travel long-haul. Brazilians (55 per cent), Canadians (31 per cent), and Americans (30 per cent) are most sensitive about money matters,” the report shows.

Concerns related to COVID-19 continue making some respondents not ready to travel, as 19 per cent of those cited this as the main reason for not travelling, especially respondents from Asia.

As for the travel sentiment toward the EU, it is weak among Americans at 94p, and 41 per cent of respondents point out that they would feel safer travelling to EU destinations. Half of them, or 56 per cent of respondents, said they want to visit many EU countries, with France, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany at the top of their list.