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European Tourism Showing Very Slow Recovery, Says ETC

ETC calls for harmonised European approach to travel restrictions

Despite most Covid-19 travel restrictions in Europe being lifted in mid-June, European tourism is showing a very slow recovery, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC).

Citing data from Sojern, which collects and analyses travel intent data from thousands of airline and hotel partners from around the world, the ETC underlined that only a slight increase of +6% in air bookings for travel between European countries (intra-EU travel) was recorded in the first weeks of July.

“However, as the month progressed, this positive trend faded with flight bookings dropping again. Similarly, searches picked-up only slightly. These fluctuations demonstrate people’s simultaneous eagerness and hesitation about travelling in these uncertain times,” the ETC said.

The ETC is calling on EU governments to better coordinate their Covid-19 recovery efforts by adopting a harmonised approach to lifting or reinstalling restrictions and safety measures, as tourism confidence plummets to a record low across the continent.

“While many Europeans are keen to travel again and enjoy summer 2020, they don’t have the confidence to book a trip given the lack of clarity around border barriers, availability of transportation, along with the health and safety protocols in their chosen destination,” the ETC said.

Sojern, working with ETC, also analysed search and booking data across another two aspects of the European tourism market – domestic travel and international trips to Europe.

European interest for domestic travel, as expressed in flight searches and bookings, remained very low in July 2020 with year-over-year drops of -37% and a massive -67% respectively.

Moreover, global searches and air bookings to Europe are also well below last year’s levels for July at -67% and -72% respectively.

Citing the latest WTTC data, the ETC said that every 2.7% increase in travel flows would generate or bring back one million jobs in the sector.

Harmonising the inconsistent patchwork of Covid-19 rules and travel advice in Europe could lead to an increase in travellers by 27%, recreating 10 million jobs in travel across the EU,” the ETC said.

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