EU tourism picks up again in December but is still below pre-pandemic levels – Eurostat

Tourists return to Venice as Italy lifts COVID-19 quarantines for the EU, UK and Israel
FILE PHOTO: Tourists enjoy a gondola ride as Italy lifts quarantine restrictions on travelers from European Union countries, Britain and Israel and Venice begins offering COVID-free flights in a bid to revitalize the tourism industry amid the coronavirus disease pandemic in Venice, Italy , May 16, 2021. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

March 14, 2022

(Reuters) – Tourists to the European Union more than tripled the nights spent in short-stay accommodation in December from a year earlier, the EU’s statistics office said on Monday, although levels remained well below pre-pandemic norms .

Nights spent in short-stay tourist accommodation in the EU rose by 237% year-on-year to 102.2 million nights in December, according to Eurostat, although this remained 27% below 2019 levels.

The easing of coronavirus restrictions and widespread vaccination campaigns helped tourism recover from early summer, although the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant and new travel restrictions slowed winter progress.

For the year as a whole, overnight stays in tourist accommodation increased by 27% compared to 2020, but remained more than a third below pre-pandemic levels.

Southern coastal nations Greece, Spain and Croatia led the recovery, up more than 70%, while tourism in Austria, Latvia and Slovakia fell even further from pandemic lows.

Along with Latvia and Slovakia, Eurostat found that Malta and Hungary were hardest hit by the pandemic, cutting overnight stays in tourist accommodation there by more than half.

Domestic guests accounted for the majority of overnight stays at 68%, guests from other EU member states just under a quarter.

International travel has recovered more slowly, with off-block overnight stays by guests declining to 8% over the past two years from 18% before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Hotels and similar establishments saw the biggest falls compared to 2019, followed by holiday rentals, while campsites were the least affected.

(Reporting by Dina Kartit; Editing by Sarah Morland and Nick Macfie) EU tourism picks up again in December but is still below pre-pandemic levels – Eurostat

Bobby Allyn

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