More than two years passed since covid-19 pandemic changed our lives, putting us in the box and giving us forced desire to adjust our lifestyles. With many health regulations, new working models and many other new everyday habits, people showed one more time the ability to react in any situation, finding the best way to reach its happiness.
Tourism as the essence of people’s freedom, is always finding its way, so let’s see how European destinations are dealing with current situation.
France: For long time world leading destination for foreign visitors’ arrival already has 30-40% more booking compared to 2021 and in several segments even 15-20% more than 2019. Bookings are one month ahead compared to previous year and people are ready to pay more, to get better accommodation and services.
Spain: According to the Spanish Statistics Institute, in February 2022 Spain reached 71 percent of pre-pandemic figures with 3.2 million international arrivals while the spending rates reached USD 3.7 billion, which is 78 percent of 2019’s expenditure levels. For the second quarter, Spain expects international tourism arrivals to reach 80% of pre-pandemic period, with an important increase of North European countries, Denmark and Sweden’s bookings reaching nearly 40% increase compared to 2019, while the increase is 26% higher for German and 13% for Great Britain citizens. It seems US tourists are also charmed by Spain, currently having only 26% lower booking than in 2019.
Italy: Since 1999, travel and tourism accounted 10 to 15 percent of the national domestic product (GDP) which put the importance of the industry in the national income landscape. Pandemic 2020 dropped it to 7% with a loss of over EUR 100 billion compared to 2019. Antonio Barreca, the General Director of Federturismo says spring/summer 2022 is the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and internal market studies show Italy is currently the top destination for people from US, Germany and Australia. Overall figures forecast this year will be bigger than 2019. One of the reasons being people saving for last two years, and now are keen to travel and spend it.
United Kingdom: Being a member of G7 does not automatically mean tourism industry is flourishing. Since the pandemic and travel restrictions, UK had many challenges recovering the tourism industry, but 2022 forecasts made by World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) say the contribution to the economy will rise to GBP 192 billion, a 19% decrease compared to 2019. Good news is that the estimated people employed in the tourism will reach 4.3 million, overlapping 70,000 more than in 2019.
Croatia: Before the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the booking was even better then in 2019. Since the beginning of the war, the booking slow down but there is no cancellation. “Last Minute” booking was previously very popular, but now the tendency is more to “Last Second” and the final results will show did Croatia do better than 2019. Germany is traditionally the biggest market for it with 70% share in 2021 while it reached 40% in 2019.
“Revenge Tourism” is born as a reaction to 2 years long travel restrictions and it is said young generations will be the first to take the step forward visiting foreign countries for vacations, following by elder visitors. Another tendency pandemic created is the increase of outdoor experience, as many of us did not have the opportunity to enjoy in the nature, due to many lockdowns and restrictions imposed in each country.
Pandemic touched the whole world and the travel literally stopped for several months in most of the countries. After two years, we are having more vaccinated people and governments are lifting regulations, allowing people to travel more freely. Ukrainian war is a new challenge Europe and the World is facing.
Today, when I am writing this article, it is the 44th day since the beginning of Russian aggression into Ukraine territory. The most people did not imagine Europe is experiencing a new war just 30 years since the previous one. The biggest similarity between both aggressions is that the aggression is coming from a former communist country and that it is taking place on the territory Slavic people live.
It is said one generation last twenty-five to thirty years, and it is unfortunate to conclude a new generation is obliged to experience war and all consequences it brings, from psychological and physical, until material and economic damages, putting not only the aggressed countries’, but all surrounding countries people in the undesirable condition for the future to come.
Travel is not a necessity, but a lifestyle. That is why it never ends.