WTTC predicts strong recovery of travel and tourism sector in Europe

Travel and tourism, reveals WTTC, is set to increase by more than 250 per cent and 80 per cent compared to 2021

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that bookings for intra-European travel over the Easter period have increased by more than 250 per cent while summer bookings are currently 80 per cent above 2021 levels.

According to WTTC’s knowledge partner ForwardKeys, the leading travel data and analytics company, intra-European flight bookings for the busy Easter and summer periods have surged ahead of last year, giving a welcome boost to travel and tourism businesses across the continent.

During WTTC’s participation at FITUR, the international tourism fair taking place in Madrid this week, the global tourism body gave hope to the struggling sector. "Latest booking data shows Europeans are positive about travelling again. Bookings for Easter and summer are looking strong. Omicron has affected the start of the year, but as infections peak and the symptoms remain mild people are booking again. The problems occur when governments react with travel restrictions. According to latest scientific evidence, although more transmissible, Omicron is less severe and leads to less hospitalisations and deaths. Therefore, we are calling on governments to reduce all travel restrictions and allow fully vaccinated travellers to move freely. Spain, that is hosting FITUR, a major travel and tourism trade fair, is keeping its borders open and is backing free movement and the economy,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO, WTTC.

According to the booking data, intra-European travel during Easter and summer in 2022 is expected to perform below pre-pandemic levels by only 38 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. However, as countries across the continent continue to relax travel restrictions, early indications show the recovery is gaining momentum and could edge even closer to 2019 levels as we head towards the summer.

In addition, during the first quarter of 2022, intra-European travel has witnessed a 275% surge in bookings, while latest booking data shows that international arrivals to European destinations will see an over 280 per cent increase, compared to the same period in 2021. Spain is poised to be the most popular destination for European travellers, with intra-European arrivals to Spain during the first quarter of 2022 currently up by 320 per cent (YOY), followed by Turkey.

As travel restrictions continue to ease and consumer confidence continues to grow, the European travel and tourism sector should expect an increased demand for travel with a significant boost in bookings in the upcoming months. In 2019, the global travel and tourism sector contributed nearly US$ 9.2 trillion to the economy and represented 10.6 per cent of all jobs (334 million).

According to WTTC’s research, in 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to an almost standstill, 62 million jobs were lost, and the sector’s contribution to the global GDP fell by a staggering US$ 4.5 trillion. These losses have affected the many millions of livelihoods who rely upon a thriving travel and tourism sector, while significantly affecting the global economy and development.

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