EU tourism fully recovered from the pandemic in 2022- Eurostat

By Nathan Vifflin

(Reuters) – Nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in the European Union reached 96% of their pre-pandemic levels in 2022, demonstrating a near full recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown that slashed the bloc’s tourism industry in 2020, Eurostat data showed on Tuesday. 

Following recovery from the subprime crisis, tourism in the EU grew sustainability between 2009 and 2019 before it became one of the most affected sectors hit by COVID in 2020.

International guests, from EU as well as non-EU countries, led the way with 53% more nights spent, while domestic trips increased by 30% compared with 2021 levels.

“France, Italy and Germany each recorded more than 400 million nights spent in 2022”, Eurostat said, adding that “these four countries accounted for more than six out of ten nights spent in the EU in 2022”.

Paris kept its status as the most visited city in the bloc, with more than 71 million nights, followed by Rome and Berlin with 29.2 and 26.3 million nights respectively. On a regional level however, Spanish Mallorca topped the ranks, followed by Paris’ own.

Hotels and similar accommodations, such as bed and breakfasts, apartment hotels and motels, were by far the most frequented across the EU, accounting for 61.6% of total stays, while rented apartments stood at 24% and campgrounds comprising areas for recreation vehicles represented 14.5%.

Recovery, however, was unequal, as countries like “Latvia and Slovakia still faced the biggest gap to bridge, reaching less than 75% of 2019 levels”, while France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark were already fully recovered.

Germans represented the largest share of international tourists, accounting for four of every 10 nights spent in EU accommodations. They also were the majority in 11 out of the 26 member states with available data.

The number of tourist accommodation establishments outpaced recovery, and showed a 4% increase compared with pre-pandemic levels, while available beds grew by 3% compared with 2020, with Italy and France representing more than one-third of the total EU capacity.

(Reporting by Nathan Vifflin; editing by Jonathan Oatis)