Spain and Turkey top travel wishlists as holiday bookings soar

Almost two years after the pandemic devastated the tourism industry, there seems to be cause for hope.

As national and European restrictions ease, people have their eyes on the sky. Recent data has revealed that intra-European travel bookings over the Easter holidays have increased by more than 250% compared to last year.

Summer bookings are currently 80% above 2021 levels, but as countries across the continent continue to ease travel restrictions, early indications show this will increase.

While travel to Europe over Easter and summer is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels, ForwardKeys, the leading travel data and analytics company, said that as the recovery gathers pace, it would approach 2019 levels.

Despite initial concerns over the Omicron variant, bookings for the first three months of 2022 jumped 275% while arrivals to European destinations rose 280% compared to the same period in 2021. Sunny Spain is poised to be the most popular destination for European travellers, followed by Turkey.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called on governments to remove all travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

Europe’s high vaccination rate and the roll-out of the EU’s Covid-19 digital certificate have helped unleash pent-up demand in recent months, but industry groups believe the easing of restrictions will lead to a significant increase in intra-European travel. regional.

“Problems arise when governments react with travel restrictions. The World Health Organization says border closures are unnecessary when Omicron is already widespread in society. All it does is harm the economy and livelihoods,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC.

According to WTTC research, in 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to a virtual halt, 62 million jobs were lost and the sector’s contribution to global GDP fell by $4.5 trillion (just under $4 Billions of Euro’s).

A survey by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) showed that the majority of travel experts do not expect international arrivals to return to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

The UNWTO Confidence Index indicated a slight decline in January-April 2022 due to the spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

He said that while scenarios indicate that international tourist arrivals could potentially increase by almost 80% in 2022 compared to last year, that would still be 50-60% below 2019 levels. together, tourism professionals see better times ahead as it slowly rebuilds after two years of lockdown and uncertainty.

Plans announced by Ryanair to launch their biggest summer schedule from Dublin Airport were another sign of hope for the hard-hit sector.

“Together we have a long way to go as we seek to reconnect Ireland to the rest of the world and fulfill our role as an economic catalyst for the Irish economy in terms of trade, tourism and social connectivity,” said said Dalton Philips, CEO of daa. as he welcomed the news.

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