According to WTTC’s knowledge partner ForwardKeys, intra-European flight bookings for the busy Easter and summer periods have surged ahead of last year, giving a welcome boost to travel and tourism businesses across the continent. ForwardKeys’ booking data revealed a strong recovery for intra-European travel for Easter and summer, set to increase by more than 250 per cent and 80 per cent compared to 2021, respectively.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Latest booking data shows Europeans are positive about travelling again. Bookings for Easter and summer are looking strong. Omicron has affected the start of the year, but as infections peak and the symptoms remain mild people are booking again.
“The problems occur when governments react with travel restrictions. The World Health Organization says that closing borders is pointless when Omicron is already prevalent in society. All it does is damage the economy and livelihoods. According to latest scientific evidence, although more transmissible, Omicron is less severe and leads to less hospitalisations and deaths. Therefore, we are calling on governments to reduce all travel restrictions and allow fully vaccinated travellers to move freely.”
Tourism recovery is gaining significant momentum
According to the booking data, intra-European travel during Easter and summer in 2022 is expected to perform below pre-pandemic levels by only 38 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. However, as countries across the continent continue to relax travel restrictions, early indications show the recovery is gaining momentum and could edge even closer to 2019 levels as we head towards the summer.
In addition, during the first quarter of 2022, intra-European travel has witnessed a 275-per-cent surge in bookings, while latest booking data shows that international arrivals to European destinations will see an increase of over 280 per cent, compared to the same period in 2021.
Spain is poised to be the most popular destination for European travellers, with intra-European arrivals to Spain during the first quarter of 2022 currently up by 320 per cent, followed by Turkey. As travel restrictions continue to ease and consumer confidence continues to grow, the European tourism sector should expect an increased demand for travel with a significant boost in bookings in the upcoming months.