Not surprisingly, the European Travel Commission’s (ETC) latest quarterly report — European Tourism Trends and Prospects – reveals that during the first four months of the year, Europe saw a dramatic 44% decline in international tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019.
It was a decrease that was in line with global performance, with eight out of 16 destinations reporting that arrivals to April/May registered falls in excess of 50%.
Ahead of the summer season, tourism businesses are resuming activities and destinations across Europe are gradually re-opening their borders, establishing travel bubbles/blocks and boosting domestic and intra-European travel.
The pace of recovery by destination will vary and will depend on the extent to which those destinations and businesses rely on international source markets and the revival of consumer confidence.
Since July 1, border restrictions for Canadian residents have been gradually reduced as Europe begins to re-open for international travel.
Only Czech Republic (+7%) and Poland (+4%) reported growth in overnights from Canada, despite declines in arrivals based on data to March. Croatia (-95%), Iceland (-72%), Slovenia (-67%), Cyprus (-67%), Hungary (-66%) and Romania (-61%) saw the biggest declines in Canadian arrivals.
However, the ETC report makes it clear that the outlook is weak, with only low levels of growth expected from Canadian travellers in the foreseeable future. Current forecasts, estimate a 1% annual average growth of travel from Canada to Europe over the five-year period 2019-2024.
Regionally, destinations in Northern Europe (+2.2%) are expected to attract most of the growth in Canadian travellers. Western Europe is predicted to see a 1.7% growth during this period, while Southern Europe and Central/Eastern Europe are expected to see a 0.3% increase and -5.8% decline respectively.
Dana Welch, chair of ETC’s Canada Chapter, said of the situation: “With the gradual reopening across Europe we recommend advisors visit the re-open EU interactive platform as it is a great resource for updated guidelines by country – https://reopen.europa.eu/en. We are committed to working with our travel partners across Canada on promotional activities to help build consumer confidence and to rebuild together”.
For the full report, go to https://etc-corporate.org/reports/european-tourism-2020-trends-prospects-q2-2020/ .