Tourism in the EU Rebounded from COVID-19 Pandemic During 2022
Early estimates on tourism published by the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) on 18 January 2023 seem to indicate that the EU tourism industry has almost fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022.
Using monthly data from January to October 2022 (or from January to November 2022 in some countries), Eurostat was able to determine that in the course of 2022, tourism in the European Union was close to pre-pandemic levels.
For example, the total number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments (hotels, camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks, etc.) was 2.72 billion in 2022, while in 2019, it was 2.88 billion. For comparison, the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation was 1.42 billion in 2020 and 1.83 billion in 2021. Current numbers represent an increase of 91.1% and 48.3% respectively.
Overnight stays by international guests have also gotten closer to pre-pandemic levels. According to the statistics, international guests spent 1.19 billion nights in tourist accommodation in 2022, compared to 1.36 billion nights in 2019. During the pandemic, these numbers were around 412.5 million in 2020 and 587.8 million in 2021 —an increase of 188.8% and 102.6% respectively.
Domestic travel, on the other hand, saw a record number of nights spent in 2022 with 1.53 billion, a rise of 10.9 million compared to 2019 (an increase of 0.7%).
The EU countries with available data that saw the best numbers of nights spent by domestic and foreign tourists in 2022 compared to 2019 are Denmark (38.4 million nights in 2022 versus 34.3 million in 2019, which means a rise of 12.3%), the Netherlands (128.3 million versus 123.4 million, which means a rise of 3.9%), and Belgium (42.7 million versus 42.5 million, an increase of 0.5%). Other countries with favorable data in this regard are Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.
According to Eurostat, there are two EU countries that must still rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on tourism: Latvia (3.9 million nights in 2022 compared with 5.5 million nights in 2019; a decrease of 29.6%) and Slovakia (12.3 million nights compared with 17.2 million nights, that is a decrease of 28.3%). These are followed by Hungary, Romania, Malta, Estonia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania.
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