The European Commission on Tourism (ETC) expects that the tourism business in Europe will gain positive momentum in July-August due to the gradual easing of covid restrictions, an increase in the number of vaccinated people, the entry into force of a digital medical certificate and the opening of the borders of the European Union to fully vaccinated travelers from a significant number of third countries.
According to ETC, the demand for trips to Europe will grow significantly in the second half of 2021, despite the fact that international tourist arrivals are still 49% lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its latest quarterly report "European Tourism Trends & Prospects", ETC connects the expectations of changes with the current summer season, since at the beginning of 2021 the demand for trips to Europe remained low.
The data shows that international tourist arrivals fell by 83% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2020. At the same time, it is noted that the risks of reducing this indicator remain due to the growth of diseases with the "delta" strain of coronavirus.
According to ETC, taking into account the rapid implementation of vaccination programs that reduce the pressure on national health systems and protect Europeans from the virus, Europe is currently coping well with the risks of the spread of COVID-19.
ETC believes that the re-opening of Europe to tourists is also fueled by the strong desire of people to start traveling again and is guaranteed by the desire of the tourism industry to ensure safety.
Within the borders of Europe, ETC expects an increase in demand for travel in the second half of this year, as the epidemiological situation on the continent improves, which allows "governments to ease restrictions and satisfy people's desire to travel."
The level of vaccination of the population in the countries of the European Union is increasing. More than 62% of the adult population of the community member countries have already been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.
The latest forecasts show that intra-European trips will account for 83% of all tourist arrivals in Europe in 2021, compared with 77% in 2019. ETC data show that 54% of the surveyed citizens of the EU countries plan to book a trip after vaccination against COVID-19.
Taking into account the fact that digital COVID certificates began to be introduced in the EU on July 1, ETC believes that this will be an additional impetus to release the deferred demand for travel, although it recognizes that "long-distance travel is likely to recover more slowly."
Thus, according to European experts, intra-European trips will return to the indicators of 2019 in 2022 and 2023, but long-distance travel will resume no earlier than 2025.
ETC expects that in the coming years, the US contribution to the growth of travel to Europe will be "the most significant". In addition, the lifting of restrictions on the admission of vaccinated American travelers has already stimulated transatlantic trips to Iceland, Croatia and Greece in May 2021.
China is expected to make a significant contribution to the growth of tourism in Europe over the next decade. Although the number of Chinese arriving on vacation in the EU countries is generally insignificant, due to the expected average annual 12% increase in arrivals of Chinese citizens, their share in the total flow of tourists in Europe will increase to 4.7%.