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Europe’s Tourism Sector Moved Closer to Recovery this Summer

Tourism in Europe took steady steps towards recovery this summer, with Greece leading the way, according to a report released this week by Oxford Economics.  

More specifically, the number of overnight stays in July in Europe exceeded 70 percent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels moving closer to achieving forecasts of 75-85 percent of 2019 levels by August. 

According to Oxford Economics’ Tourism Tracker, an extended tourism season is keeping activity strong from August through to October boosting Q3 GDP in most of southern Europe’s tourism-reliant economies.

Overall in Europe, domestic travel helped offset the shortfall in international arrivals.

The report’s analysts expect the rise in air travel in Q3 to pave the way for stronger international travel in 2022. 

According to Oxford Economics estimates, tourism will add 0.9ppt to its forecast of 5 percent EU GDP growth in 2021.

The report said the latest data is “encouraging” with online searches and bookings still up.

Analysts warn, however, that the sector is “not out of the woods yet”.

Top concerns include the risk of variants which may lead to spikes in Covid-19 cases and the re-introduction of travel restrictions. At the same time, sharp increases in Covid infections elsewhere in Europe aside from popular holiday destinations might stem tourism inflows. 

“Though the summer season saw a good rebound, the gap in tourism activity to pre-pandemic levels remains,” said the report.

Oxford Economics is a leading, independent global advisory company active in 200 countries.

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