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The number of overnight stays has dropped by more than 80% in 2020 in the countries of Southern Europe




Greece was one of the countries most affected by the lack of tourists (photo: F.Dubessy)
Greece was one of the countries most affected by the lack of tourists (photo: F.Dubessy)
EU. In 2020, travel restrictions due to Covid-19 and other precautionary measures taken to limit the spread of the pandemic have severely affected the tourism sector in the European Union. According to a study published by Eurostat, the number of nights in tourist establishments in the European Union in 2020 (1.4 billion) recorded a decrease of 52.1% compared to 2019 (2.9 billion). And more precisely by 38% for those spent by nationals and 68% by non-residents (foreign visitors).

If the Member States are all, without exception, affected by this decline (the least important is in the Netherlands with -30.2%), the southern countries of the EU pay the heaviest price. Cyprus (-77.7%), Greece (-72.5), Malta (-70.3), Spain (-69.4%) and Portugal (-61%) have seen the biggest falls.

Due to a total lockdown, closed borders and planes taped to the tarmac, April 2020 was the worst affected month with 95% fewer overnight stays compared to April 1999. In May and June, the partial lifting of travel restrictions allowed for a slow recovery (-89% in May and -71% in June) which accelerated during the summer of 2020 (-43% in July and -33% in August). However, the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the sanitary measures taken to deal with them caused the figures to fall back to -41% in September.

 

Increase in nationals in three countries

The number of overnight stays has dropped by more than 80% in 2020 in the countries of Southern Europe
The return of travel restrictions was immediately reflected in a slowdown in October, November and December 2020 (-53%, -76% and -78% respectively compared to the same months in 2019).

The EU statistical office notes, however, that in three southern countries, domestic residents booked more rooms in their own country in 2020 than in 2019. These are Slovenia (+33%) as well as Malta and Cyprus (+15% each).

On the contrary, others, such as Spain and Greece for example, have declines of more than 40% in hotel occupancy by their nationals.

During the previous financial and economic crisis, after two years of decline in 2008 and 2009, tourism had recovered in 2010 an increase in overnight stays. From 2005 to 2019, the number of overnight stays increased by 43%.

 

Eric Apim


Wednesday, March 17th 2021



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