The European Travel Commission said that the recent re-imposition of lockdowns and travel restrictions had halted any chance of an early recovery.
Looking at the months ahead, heightened uncertainty and downside risks continued to dampen the outlook with European arrivals forecast to decline by 61% in 2020.
ETC executive director Eduardo Santander said: “As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic grips Europe and in advance of the winter season, it is now more important than ever that European nations join forces to agree on common solutions, not only to curb the spread of the virus but also to support tourism’s sustainable recovery, restore travellers’ confidence, and most importantly protect the millions of businesses, jobs, and enterprises that are at risk, so they can survive the economic fallout. The direction of the economic recovery across Europe will depend significantly on the recovery of the tourism sector, a sector which generates close to 10% of the EU’s GDP and accounts for over 22 million jobs.”
Mediterranean destinations Cyprus and Montenegro saw the steepest falls in arrivals at 85% and 84% respectively, attributable to a higher dependency on foreign travellers.
Among the other countries most impacted were Romania where arrivals fell 80%; Turkey (-77%); Portugal and Serbia (both -74%). Island destinations, Iceland and Malta (both -71%) also performed poorly, challenged by their geographical location and strict border restrictions.