EU Travel in 2022 Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels, Data Shows

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By NTD Newsroom
January 19, 2023Europe
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EU Travel in 2022 Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels, Data Shows
Children gather around a street performer blowing soap bubbles in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on May 24, 2021. (John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)

Tourist accommodation levels across the European Union were nearing pre-pandemic levels in 2022. According to the bloc’s statistics office, the number of overnight stays in tourist accommodations approached nearly 2.8 billion last year.

Figures published by Eurostat show that nights spent in holiday accommodation throughout Europe were down by a mere 5.6 percent, compared to 2019 levels. The figures include short-stays in hotels and self-catering and also campsites and trailer parks.

The number reflects a steep rise of 48.3 percent from 2020 and a whopping 91.1 percent from 2021, when COVID-19 restrictions obliterated the industry with border and business closures, as well as lockdowns.

“The sector seems to be strongly rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eurostat.

The biggest increase was observed in the domestic travel sector, which saw levels exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 0.7 percent to over 1.5 billion nights. International tourism was still lagging behind at just under 1.2 billion nights, or 12.6 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

At the forefront were Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium, which experienced the highest growth both in domestic and foreign travelers. Denmark was up just over 12 percent, the Netherlands by almost 4 percent, whereas Belgium showed a 0.5 percent increase from 2019 figures, alongside non-EU members Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.

The lowest numbers were observed in Eastern Europe, with Latvia and Slovakia reaching slightly above 70 percent of 2019 levels.

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), this year could mark the return of international tourism arrivals not just for Europe, but also for the Middle East.

The agency expects improvement to continue throughout 2023. This is underlined by the easing of travel restrictions in China amid solid demand from the United States, as well as a robust U.S. dollar.

Nonetheless, the United Nations-led agency does warn that economic uncertainty and geopolitical unrest could negatively impact overall tourist spending, and provide ground for shorter breaks.

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