pins in a map of europe reflecting travel destinations and continued enthusiasm

Europe’s tourism recovery is maintaining its momentum despite economic headwinds, with one quarter of reporting destinations surpassing pre-pandemic levels of foreign arrivals based on year-to-date data. Inflation and increased travel costs are squeezing consumers’ wallets, however, travel spending is still prioritised against other discretionary spending.

NB: This is an extract from the European Travel Commission Quarterly Report Q2/2023

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Holidaymakers continue to be primarily driven by cost, which is reflected by recent data showing that more affordable destinations are among the best performers, notably Türkiye, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. Those allowing travel from Russia are among these destinations reporting a positive performance. Trends this summer are looking extraordinarily positive based on air ticket sales data from IATA, however, the air travel experience and connectivity still need to improve.

Intra-European travel demand continues its strong position, mainly driven by the Netherlands, France, and Italy. Longer-haul, the US is the standout performer with a stronger dollar as the main driver, while markets in Asia & Pacific still have a long way to go regarding travel recovery. Europe’s tourism outlook for the remainder of the year will be for slower than expected growth due to high and persistent inflation and sluggish economic growth.

Key questions remain, such as the shape that revenge travel will adopt this summer. As travel projections are strong for the season, the threat and concerns about over-tourism increase. Its negative impacts on tourism sites, the environment and the lives of residents call for destinations to offer more alternative options and implement strategies that ease the pressure on tourism hotspots.

Tourism strategies that embrace travel dispersal will support destinations in addressing tourism massification while spreading the benefits of tourism to lesser-known areas. Tourism should be leveraged as a force for good to balance economic growth with current social, economic and environmental needs to ensure a responsible and more sustainable future.

The most recent edition of the European Tourism Trends & Prospects quarterly report comprehensively analyses key tourism and economic trends in Europe and relevant source markets.

The latest report includes a special feature on emerging trends for the peak summer season supported by air passenger data and trends from IATA. This analysis provides a better understanding of the broader picture in terms of full recovery and the destinations and source markets driving travel growth.

Read the full European Travel Commission report here