In 2020, the tourism industry suffered from the COVID-19 outbreak: the number of nights spent at EU tourist accommodation establishments dropped by 52% in 2020 compared with 2019, Eurostat data published today has shown.
Alongside the overall decrease in tourism in 2020, the seasonal bias became even more pronounced. The shoulder season between April and June was extremely calm in 2020, due to the travel restrictions as well as other precautionary measures taken in response. Less than 3% of all tourism nights in 2020 were spent in April and May, while the share of these two months stood at 15% in 2019.
The near absence of tourism flows in spring shifted the distribution towards the summer months as COVID-19 restrictions eased in most countries. The peak summer months, July and August, accounted for 42% of all nights spent in tourist accommodation in 2020, compared with 32% in 2019.
The impact of COVID-19 on tourism, in autumn 2020, was less pronounced than the dramatic decline in spring. The share of October to December in the annual nights spent dropped from 20% in 2019 to 13% in 2020.
The tourism flows in January and February, the months before the COVID-19 outbreak, were relatively normal compared with previous years. However, they turned out to account for 20% of the annual nights spent due to the impact of the pandemic on the other ten months of 2020 (compared with 9% in 2019).