European destinations see strong bounce back in travel

Turkey, Greece already above 2019 levels: ForwardKeys
/ New Delhi
European destinations see strong bounce back in travel

Kusadasi is a large resort town on Turkey's Aegean coast

The revival of tourism to Europe has bounced back extremely strongly in the past few months, with several destinations near or even above their pre-pandemic numbers of tourists.
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Last few weeks have seen extremely encouraging, even surprising data emerge from some of the hottest travel destinations in Europe as they continue to soar higher in recording tourist arrivals.

Travel experts say that the tourism industries in key destinations will continue to rebound in the fall and winter months. According to data from ForwardKeys, a travel data aggregator and analyst firm, Turkiye and Greece exceeded pre-pandemic tourism levels in the peak summer months of July and August, with international visitor air arrivals climbing by 9 pc and 2 pc, respectively.

With the recovery registered so far, ForwardKeys says that in July 2022, air travel across Europe was down by 26 pc compared to the same month in 2019, bumped up by the huge demand for summer travel. It added that the growth would continue equally strongly with flight bookings continuing to rise, leaving the flight bookings were only down 21 pc compared to pre-pandemic totals.

Bookings for Turkiye and Greece jumped 20 pc and 5 pc over the 2019 levels, respectively, while Portugal was down only 3 pc, Iceland was down 7 pc and Spain down 15 pc, adds ForwardKeys.

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

The best performing city destinations included Istanbul, which saw a 2 pc rise in flight arrivals, followed by Athens (down by 7 pc), Reykjavik (down by 8 pc), Porto (down by 8 pc and Malaga (down by 13 pc).

Data showed that intra-European flight bookings would have been five percentage points higher had there been no disruption. In July, France reported that travellers 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 tourists from the United States spent an average of USD 402 per day while in France and most spent more than USD 760 per day over a typical 10-day stay. A report on Italian tourism industry in August said that an estimated 2.2 million Americans are expected to visit by the end of summer and projected to spend USD 2.09 billion between July and September, a 20 pc increase from 2019. Italian travel numbers also indicated that international arrivals from Canada, Australia, England and Spain returned to 2019 levels.

ForwardKeys reports 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.

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