EU Tourism down by 61% during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the past year, tourism was among the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the travel restrictions as well as other precautionary measures taken in response.

The number of nights spent at EU tourist accommodation establishments dropped by 61% between April 2020 and March 2021 (1.1 billion), compared with the 12 months prior to the pandemic (April 2019 to March 2020: 2.8 billion).

Among the EU Member States with available data*, the highest decreases were recorded in Malta (-80%) and Spain (-78%), followed by Greece (-74%), Portugal (-70%) and Hungary (-66%). At the other end of the scale, the Netherlands and Denmark both reported drops of 36%.

Residents spent 45% fewer nights, and foreigners 79%

Between April 2020 and March 2021 compared with the preceding 12 months, the nights spent by non-residents of the country (international guests) fell by 79%, while nights spent by residents (domestic guests) fell by 45%.

During this period, the number of nights spent by international guests decreased in all EU Member States with available data, with the largest decreases observed in Spain (-90%), Romania (-89%), Hungary and Finland (both -88%) as well as Czechia (-87%).

Among the EU countries, only residents of Slovenia (+25%) and Malta (+20%) spent more tourism nights inside their own country compared with the 12 prior months. However, given the relative small importance of domestic tourism in these countries, this increase could not offset the sharp drop in international tourism.


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The Mediterranean Observer is a news portal dedicated to travel tourism, and hospitality in the Mediterranean region. This portal is managed by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, based in the Mediterranean country of Malta.