Pax Global Media
The European Travel Commission (ETC) has released its “European Tourism: Trends & Prospects” report for the fourth quarter of 2022, and the outlook for travel to Europe is promising.
Despite high inflation, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and a looming economic recession, the latest data indicates a recovery of 75% of 2019 travel volumes to Europe in 2022.
The ETC expects this to continue well into 2023 – although at a slower pace.
Looking forward, international travel to Europe is forecast to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2025, while domestic travel will fully recover in 2024, according to the report.
Additionally, the ETC’s latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) 1/2023 was also published with Eurail BV.
Pre-pandemic tourist arrivals
Year-to-date data, compared to 2019, shows that almost one in two reporting European destinations have recovered more than 80% of their pre-pandemic foreign arrivals, the report says.
Overall, southern Mediterranean destinations posted the fastest recovery as the year ended.
High prices spurred the attractiveness of more affordable destinations, with holidaymakers flocking to Türkiye (-2%) to benefit from a weaker lira.
Luxembourg (-4%), Serbia (-6%), Greece (-6%), and Portugal (-7%) are also approaching 2019 levels.
Strong transatlantic travel
Transatlantic travel is expected to continue making significant contributions to European destinations, says the ETC.
The U.S. leads the recovery of long-haul travel to Europe, thanks to short-lived and fewer travel restrictions, and the strength of the dollar against the Euro.
Based on year-to-date data, almost one in four of reporting destinations saw U.S. arrivals exceed 2019 levels.
Arrivals from this market to Europe are 25% below 2019 levels in 2022 and are expected to recover 82% of 2019 volumes in 2023.
Canada is performing similarly to the U.S. with arrivals to Europe looking to be 28% below 2019 levels in 2023, says the ETC.
Türkiye was the only reporting destination country registering an increase in arrivals from Canada in 2022 (up 42% on 2019 levels).
“This is likely to have been driven by the depreciation of the Turkish lira,” says the ETC.
On the other hand, Serbia leads in the recovery of overnights (up 33%) from Canadians in Europe.
Canadians keen to travel
The Canadian travel sentiment for 2023 is positive, the report shows.
The share of Canadians planning to visit Europe between January and April increased from 15% in 2022 to 29% in 2023, with the sentiment index value remaining in positive territory (108 points).
Yet, the majority (62%) of Canadian respondents will refrain from overseas trips at the beginning of 2023. The main deterrent for 39% of them is their disposable budget.
“Canadians wishing to visit Europe in the next months will look for experiences revolving around history and culture, and the vibrant life of European cities,” says the ETC.
The top European destinations for Canadians are France, Italy, the U.K., and Germany.
Sandra Moffatt, Chair of ETC’s Canada Chapter said 2022 was “a positive year for many European destinations, and we welcome the continuation of this strong rate of recovery from Canada.”
“Despite ongoing economic headwinds, sentiment remains very positive with 70 per cent of Canadians intending to take a long-haul trip this year, and we look forward to welcoming visitors looking to explore Europe in 2023,” said Moffatt.
The full European Tourism – Trends and Prospects report can be downloaded from ETC's website here.
The full Long-Haul Travel Barometer can be downloaded from ETC's corporate website here.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.