Tourist overnight stays booked online in the EU up 34% in 2021

The second wave of the pandemic at the end of 2020 had a significant impact on the number of reservations at the start of 2021, with 59.7% fewer nights spent in January 2021 than in January 2019.

Last summer, due to an easing of travel restrictions, the number of nights spent in short-term accommodation recovered significantly and was very close to pre-pandemic levels. During the peak months of July and August, 73.7 and 88.4 million nights were spent in short-term accommodation, which represents 85.9% and 91.2% of the record values ​​for these same months in 2019.

Bookings remained strong in the fall and winter and were close to pre-pandemic levels through the end of the year.

This means that the growth of around 90 million overnight stays from 2020 to 2021 can be attributed to the second half.

[Credit: Eurostat]

Large cities and Mediterranean destinations suffered the most

When analyzing the recovery of platform tourism at the regional and city level, it becomes clear that not all regions have rebounded in the same way.

Coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea, capital city regions, as well as alpine winter destinations, were furthest from their 2019 levels.

Regions with at least one million overnight stays in 2019 that were furthest from their 2019 levels were Prague in Czechia [-81.9 per cent]Eastern and Midland in Ireland [-76.2 per cent]Budapest in Hungary [-72.9 per cent]Vienna in Austria [-66.3 per cent] and Lazio in Italy [-64.8 per cent]. All are capital city regions.

In addition, the coastal region of Catalonia in Spain, the third most frequented region in 2019 with more than 20 million overnight stays, remains far behind the number of overnight stays booked in 2019. [-48.5 per cent to 10.7 million].

On the other hand, several regions of countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Romania managed to exceed their nights spent in 2019, while many others were close. The best performing regions since 2019, with at least one million overnight stays in 2019, are all rural regions of France.

Looking at some destinations in the capital, many of them still had less than 50% of their overnight stays in 2019 in 2021, with Prague [18.1 per cent]Budapest [27.1 per cent] and Rome in Italy [30.5 per cent] most in difficulty.

The only cities that managed to attract more visitors in 2021 than in 2019 were smaller. Among those with at least 100,000 overnight stays in 2019, the best performing cities are Orléans in France [+55.3 per cent]Ostend in Belgium [+49.6 per cent] and Lugano in Switzerland [+49.1 per cent].

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