Intra-European travel to grow in dominance this summer

The European Travel Commission predicts that long-haul travel to Europe will not recover to 2019 levels until 2025.

Travel between European countries is expected to account for 83% of inbound arrivals across the continent in 2021, higher than the 77% recorded in 2019.

More than 62% of the EU’s adult population have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 54% intend to book a trip when fully vaccinated, according to the latest European Travel Commission (ETC) European Tourism Trends & Prospects report. 

Domestic and intra-European travel are now expected to return to 2019 volumes by 2022 and 2023 respectively.

ETC president Luís Araújo said that the progress on vaccines means Europe is now “managing the COVID risks well both for locals and our long-awaited travelers.”

“We therefore believe that safe travel is possible this summer. The reopening is also fueled by the strong desire of people to travel again and secured by the readiness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel experiences. As Europe is opening up, it is imperative that clear and coherent messages are communicated to prospective travelers.”

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However, the ETC report also predicted that long-haul travel will not recover to 2019 levels until 2025. 

The US is expected to lead long-haul arrivals, although China is expected to make “a sizeable contribution” to growth in European travel in the next decade. 

At the expected average annual growth rate of 12%,Chinese arrivals would contribute 4.7% of overall arrivals growth to European destinations over the period 2019-30, the study said.

Photo credit: Horacio Villalobos / Corbis / Getty Images

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