Eurostat: EU tourism industry eclipsed pre-pandemic levels in 2023

In 2023, European Union tourism continued to show signs of rebounding from the Covid-19 pandemic, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on January 16.

The estimated number of nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments in 2023 reached 2.92 billion, exceeding the pre-pandemic level for 2019 (2.87 billion) by 1.6 per cent and setting a record year for the EU accommodation sector.

In 2023, 171 million more nights were spent compared with 2022 (+6.3 per cent), mainly driven by an increase in nights spent by international guests (+146 million) and to a lesser extent by an increase in nights spent by domestic guests (+25 million).

Tourism levels (in terms of nights spent) were 25 per cent higher than 10 years earlier (2013: 2.33 billion nights spent).

This information comes from early estimates on tourism published by Eurostat on January 16 (based on monthly January-October or November 2023 data, depending on each respective country).

Compared with 2022, nearly all EU members recorded an increase in 2023, only Luxembourg recorded a small decrease (-0.1 per cent).

In Malta and Cyprus, the growth exceeded 20 per cent and in 8 other EU members, it exceeded 10 per cent (Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Austria, Czechia, Portugal, Romania and Greece).

In absolute numbers, the biggest increase in nights spent was observed in Germany (+32.8 million nights) and Spain (+32.3 million nights).

Following three years with a significantly lower share of international tourists (respectively 29 per cent, 32 per cent, and 44 per cent of all nights spent in 2020, 2021, and 2022), foreigners accounted for 46 per cent of the 2.87 billion nights spent in 2023.

This shows a near-return to the pre-pandemic contribution of international tourists (47 per cent), Eurostat said.

However, in terms of volume, international tourism was still catching up (-0,4 per cent compared with 2019).  

In terms of accommodation, hotels and similar accommodation were the dominant segment with 1.8 billion nights spent (63 per cent of the total), followed by holiday and other short-stay accommodation (24 per cent). Campsites accounted for 13 per cent of the total, the statistics agency said.

(Photo: Lance Nelson of Bansko App)

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