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Tourism in Europe has almost reached pre-pandemic levels: how many foreign tourists traveled to the region?

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Tourism in Europe has almost reached pre-pandemic levels: how many foreign tourists traveled to the region?

In the last quarter of 2023, the flow of foreign tourists to Europe was only 1.6% lower than in 2019. Find out more about visitation statistics and what experts predict for 2024

Insurance policy Green card for traveling abroad by car
Insurance policy Green card for traveling abroad by car
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The coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on global tourism, and countries have been recovering from the consequences for almost three years. Spain was the last European country to lift its COVID-19 travel restrictions, in October 2022. 

However, the key was the summer season of 2023, when European hotels, tour operators, and airlines received a record number of tourists. Interestingly, the tourist boom that occurred in Europe happened without russians and Chinese.


And according to official statistics from the European Travel Commission (ETC), European tourism almost reached pre-pandemic levels in 2023.


Read how much taxes the tourism industry of Ukraine brought in 2023 here.


How is tourism recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic?


According to official ETC data, in the last quarter of 2023, the flow of foreign tourists to Europe was 1.6% lower than in 2019. At the same time, the number of nights spent by foreign tourists in Europe was only 0.6% below pre-pandemic levels.


"The strong demand for travel observed in 2023 has provided a significant boost to the European economy and will help improve the balance sheets of travel companies that have been hit hard by travel restrictions. However, a return to pre-pandemic levels will also put pressure on accelerating the sustainable transition of the travel industry," ETC President Miguel Sanz commented on the data.


At the same time, 2024 could be a decisive year, as analysts predict further growth in the figures. It is also expected that the Chinese will travel more actively this year, in particular due to generational change and the influence of social media, which may cause a desire for luxury and more authentic experiences.




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Which countries had the most tourists in 2023?


In 2023, destinations with a good value for money were in the greatest demand. Thus, the largest increase in the number of tourists was recorded in Serbia (+15%), Portugal (+11%), Montenegro (+10%), Turkey (+9%), and Malta (+8%).


Iceland also showed a good recovery, with arrivals up 12% despite volcanic eruptions. In addition, the number of overnight stays increased by 16% in the Netherlands, while the arrival rate increased by 14%, indicating a longer stay of tourists.


At the same time, in eastern Europe, particularly in countries bordering russia, tourism recovery rates are still far from pre-pandemic levels. Thus, Lithuania recorded -32% compared to 2019, Latvia - -29%, Estonia - -27%, and Finland - -24%.


Who traveled to Europe in 2023?


The ETC report notes that there is currently a significant gap in terms of the pace of recovery of international travel among residents of various distant destinations. Thus, the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Europe in 2023 is still 67% below the pre-pandemic level. 


On the contrary, the North American markets have recorded a significant recovery. Thus, two-thirds of European destinations reported an increase in the number of arrivals and/or overnight stays from the United States, while more than half reported the same for Canada.


In addition, American and Canadian airlines have announced the development of combined flight and rail reservation systems for Europe, which is expected to provide more comfort and mobility for traveling in the region.


Please note! To travel freely in Europe by car, a driver must have a Green Card insurance policy. The absence or delay of insurance is fraught not only with fines that are several dozen times higher than the cost of the insurance policy for a year, but also with the seizure of the car and deportation from the country with a subsequent ban on entry. You can take out insurance for the required period on our website. Read more about the amount of fines in Europe for not having a Green Card here.


We remind you! Using the services of low-cost airlines, you will not only save money on the flight, but you will also have to adhere to clear rules for the transportation of hand luggage. Read more about the rules for the transportation of hand luggage from European airlines in our previous article.


Photo: Unsplash


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




Our recommendation for a safe and comfortable trip: 


Visit Ukraine Insurance - insurance for a safe stay abroad without unnecessary expenses;

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