- The European tourism sector, severely disrupted by the covid-19 pandemic, should fully rebound this summer. In many places, tourist arrivals are already exceeding 2019 levels, while other countries could reach that level this year. The sector will play an important role in stimulating economic activity in southern and south-eastern Europe. Data from Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried, kilometers flown and routes served, shows passenger numbers are already above pre-pandemic levels, at 16 million in April, compared to 13.5 million in April 2019.
- The current cost of living crisis in Europe will have mixed effects on the sector. The income squeeze will push more tourists to cheaper European destinations, such as the Western Balkans and Turkey, and away from more expensive destinations, such as Spain and France. However, the latter destinations could benefit from an increased number of people who usually travel outside Europe and choose to stay on the continent to save money. Tourist arrivals from countries outside Europe will remain poor. China’s post-Covid reopening will boost arrivals, but we expect the number of inbound Chinese tourists this year to remain below its 2019 level. Arrivals from the United States will also be tepid, as the U.S. economy slows and real wages stagnate.
- The main beneficiaries of this year’s tourism rebound will likely be Balkan countries, which are more affordable and have already seen a rebound in arrivals. The impact of tourism on overall activity will be particularly significant given the large contribution of tourism to service spending in these economies. Some southern European countries, such as Spain, will also see strong tourism growth due to a low base: Spain and Italy are among the few countries where tourism has not yet rebounded at 2019 levels. Investment in tourism infrastructure will therefore resume as these countries emerge from the pandemic crisis. The main risk for the European tourism sector is adverse weather conditions, such as prolonged heatwaves or floods following droughts.
The analysis presented in this article can be found in the EIU report. Country analysis service. This integrated solution provides award-winning forecasts and industry data for more than 190 countries, helping organizations manage risk exposure and uncover opportunities.