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European Travel Commission emphasises the importance of overseas visitors

European long-haul tourism is recovering

European Travel Commission emphasises the importance of overseas visitors

March 06, 2023

How can Europe become attractive again for overseas visitors? Speaking at a press conference at ITB Berlin, the president of the European Travel Commission (ETC) explained how, under the label of Visit Europe, the EU is marketing itself to visitors from the USA, Asia and South America as a safe destination that has much to offer. The European Tourism Association (ETOA) and Tourism Economics believe the market will have recovered by 2024, but that obtaining visas will still be a challenge.

Overseas visitors were decisive for a recovery of the European tourism market. Visitors often travelled for weeks at a time and booked a large number of overnights. They also spent an above-average amount of money at their destinations. As such they were extremely important for a full recovery and future growth of the European tourism market, said David Goodger, director of Tourism Economics. While domestic tourism and tourism in neighbouring countries had almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, there were currently fewer overseas visitors than in 2019.

According to the tourism expert, the latest surveys showed many people in overseas countries wanting to travel again. At the same time high inflation and recession were causing uncertainty. Currently, the number of travellers from the USA had already regained pre-pandemic levels. David Goodger believes that Brazil, India and Australia will recover in 2023. In 2023, people travelling from China and Japan will increase again, and numbers will have significantly recovered by 2024.

As overseas travellers often regard Europe as a single destination the European Travel Commission (ETC) is marketing its member countries under a common label, Visit Europe. ETC president Luis Araujo unveiled a new members’ campaign that presents Europe as a safe travel destination that has a lot to offer to nature lovers, culturally interested visitors and families.

Despite the optimism, which Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA) shared, particularly with regard to the USA, he also saw obstacles to growth in the long-haul tourism market. Thus, in Europe issuing visas continued to be a national prerogative and could take weeks in some cases. Nor had long-haul flights and hotel capacity regained pre-pandemic levels. In that respect however he saw Europe as being on course.