Traditionally, we all try to go on a small Christmas trip with our family, friends or a loved one. And European beautiful Christmas markets and ski resorts attracts tourists from all over the world.
This December, Budapest once again won the prestigious Best Christmas Market in Europe award. This is already the fourth victory for Budapest in this ranking: for 2019, 2021, 2023 and now for 2024 winter season.
French Strasbourg and Austrian Salzburg Christmas Markets are also considered among the best winter attractions in the world.
Our team conducted the analysis, how the tourism industry in European countries restores. The tourism industry is important not only because of its contribution to the economies of countries and the development of local business, but it also helps to develop relations between countries, people, and simply increases our level of happiness and life satisfaction!
CDP Center experts reviewed the dynamics of tourism industry data in 2023 and compared it to 2019. We took as a basis the simplest and yet recognized indicator of the dynamics of the development of the tourism industry in a city and country – “Nights spent at tourist accommodation” (according to Eurostat). This indicator shows how much time the tourists spend in a city and in a country. “Overnight stays” affect the amount of money the tourist spends on food, accommodation, and entertainment: so it determines the scale of his positive contribution to the economy of the city and country .
According to preliminary results for 2023, the list of leading European Union countries in terms of the volume of tourist trips are:
According to first 9 month results in 2023, compared to 2019, France and Spain changed places. France is leading the ranking and traditionally the overnight stays in the country are dominated by domestic tourists. On contrary, Spain tourist are mostly foreigners.
The third and fourth positions of the most touristic countries in the European Union also changed synchronously. In 2023, in terms of the number of overnight stays, Italy moved to fourth place. And Germany reached the third position, mainly because of the significant increase of domestic tourists overnight stays.
The TOP-10 countries by overnight stays also include Greece, Austria and Croatia with a traditionally predominant share of foreign tourists. These countries were also in the TOP-10 in 2019. Such countries as the Netherlands and Poland retained their positions with a predominant share of domestic tourists over foreigners.
The only major change in the 2023 is the exclusion of Turkey from the TOP list. According to preliminary 2023 results, Turkey took 11th place. And Portugal took Turkey plaice. In both countries, the number of foreign tourists prevails over domestic ones.
According to CDP center experts , the New Year eve period will not greatly change the order of TOP 10 countries.
The ratio of internal and external tourists varies greatly not only across countries, but also among leading European cities. Most likely, this is an important indicator for elaborating support measures and stimulation for the tourism industry.
As part of the analysis, it was important for us to identify countries that have the greatest chance of restoring their tourism industry to 2019 levels already in 2023.
If we assess the situation in the European Union as a whole, we believe that in 2023 the tourism industry has every chance to recover to the 2019 level in terms of the number of overnight stays by tourists. Of course, the situation differs greatly across countries. Countries with a large share of foreign tourists tend to recover more slowly.
We have calculated the “overnight stays” indicator recovery to 2019. It shows, that the TOP countries have every chance to reach the 2019 figures or even to surpass it by the end of 2023. The TOP includes small countries such as Liechtenstein, Iceland, Slovenia and some countries that are leaders in the size of the tourism industry such as France, Italy, Greece. The trend is evident and it creates a very positive mood overall.
Of course, if we compare the dynamics month by month, we see that in the first quarter (January to March) the number of overnight stays was less than in 2019 - the key negative factor was low number of foreign tourists. Most likely this can be associated with continued quarantine in China. Summer months in 2023 also showed lower results in overnight stays than in 2019, most likely this can be associated with abnormal heat in the leading tourist countries.
Based on the results of the analysis we consider that fluctuations in the tourist flow on a monthly basis have limited effect. And we believe that in 2023 the trend towards the restoration of the tourism industry has finally taken hold!
We wish our readers and subscribers many new exciting trips, adventures and positive emotions. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!