MIAMI – A new infographic released by Kryptoszene shows the staggering decline in international tourism resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Europe, the world leader in said industry, has seen a 58% slash in tourists arriving from foreign regions compared to figures from 2019. The information was collected between January-May of this year and last.

Global travel bans and quarantine restrictions forced airlines to halt service to many international destinations. In some cases, airlines had no choice but to halt operations altogether. On April 12, air traffic in Europe hit an all-time low, with just 2,099 flights operating that day. That is over a 90% drop from what is considered normal.

Demand for hotel rooms in Europe has also declined. Occupancy dropped to 46% across the continent. The European Tourism Commission (ETC) says that reduced rates have failed to drive any more demand “under the current circumstances.” Additionally, 13m jobs in the European tourism industry have been lost.

Infographic depicting the decline in international tourist arrivals y region. Photo: Kryptosene

Road to Recovery

The ETC expects European tourism growth to remain “below 2019 levels” until 2023. Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the ETC, emphasizes the importance of its improvement. “The direction of the economic recovery across Europe will depend significantly on the recovery of the tourism sector, a sector which generates close to 10 percent of the EU’s GDP and accounts for over 22 million jobs,” he says.

The ETC estimates that tourism recovery will be led by domestic and short-haul travel. It claims that the “resilience of travel demand is greater for destinations that rely more heavily on domestic travelers and those from short-haul markets, which tend to be less volatile.” Changing travel patterns are creating opportunities for airlines and destinations to target new sources of demand.

Although COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on Europe and the rest of the world, things are slowly starting to fall back into place. Airlines are resuming flights to international destinations, and borders are opening up again. With rapid testing and vaccinations on the horizon, we can only hope that better days are coming.

Featured image: Amsterdam Airport Schipol. Photo: Mees Jansen via Wikimedia