EU tourism recovering in 2021

In 2021, tourism was among the sectors that started to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, following the easing of certain restrictions related to it, such as travel restrictions as well as other precautionary measures taken in response.

In 2021, the number of nights spent at EU tourist accommodation establishments totalled 1.8 billion, up by 27 % compared with 2020, but down by 37 % compared with 2019.

This information comes from early estimates on tourism published by Eurostat today. The article presents only a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

Number of nights in 2021 inch closer to 2019 figures

When viewing the evolution during the pandemic years, the number of nights spent in 2021 compared with 2020 increased in the majority of EU Member States with available data. The largest increases were recorded in Greece, Spain and Croatia, with surges of over 70 %. On the other hand, Latvia, Slovakia and Austria were the Member States that saw decreases, reporting drops of less than -18 %. This shows signs of recovery in the tourism sector.

On the other hand, when comparing the number of nights spent in 2021 with the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the most affected countries were Latvia, Slovakia, Malta and Hungary, with drops exceeding 50 %. At the other end of the scale, Denmark and the Netherlands reported drops of less than 20 %. These figures are far less dramatic than the figures for 2020 compared with 2019.

Non-residents of the country spent more nights in 2021 compared with 2020

In 2021 compared with 2020, there was an increase in the share of nights spent by non-residents of the country (from 29 % in 2020 to 32 % in 2021, +3 percentage points).

This increase was attributed to the share of guests from other EU countries (from 21 % in 2020 to 24 % in 2021), while the share of guests from the rest of Europe and the rest of the world stayed the same  (5 % and 3 %, respectively).

On the other hand, when comparing 2021 with pre-pandemic figures (2019), all EU countries recorded a decrease in non-resident guests. Latvia, Slovakia and Czechia took the biggest hit, recording drops of more than 75 % while Croatia and Luxembourg were the least affected, recording drops of less than 45 %.

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