Western Europe Sees Surge in Tourism Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

Western Europe Tourism
Image Credit: GoodLifeStudio / Getty Images via Canva.com

A new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council has revealed that tourism numbers in five of the biggest cities in Western Europe are on the rise again after taking a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figures have been released as part of the Cities Economic Impact Report and concluded that the economic impact of tourism in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Madrid has improved considerably in the last year.

In the final year before the pandemic, 2019, around $83.5bn was contributed via tourism to the economies of the aforementioned five cities. In 2022, these numbers were creeping back towards that total at $71bn showing that the appetite for travel and tourism is returning in Europe after a bleak couple of years.

Due to the coronavirus, travel restrictions have bogged down the continent for much of the past three years; however, the only restrictions now in place anywhere in Europe are for Chinese travelers.

Brexit has also played a part in a tourism dip, particularly for those looking to travel to the United Kingdom or British travelers looking to visit EU countries. As the adaption process continues for post-Brexit travel, though, it is expected that this will become less of an issue going forward.

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A Breakdown of the Numbers

Out of all five of the cities studied in the report, Paris is showing the strongest signs of recovery. The French capital earned around $35.7Bn through tourism in 2022, which is only 6% less than in 2019.

On the other hand, London and Berlin are on fairly similar paths to recovery in terms of percentage. Although London brought in $15bn in tourism money in 2022 and Berlin only $7.7Bn, they are both 17-19% down on their respective 2019 figures.

Tourism contribution in Madrid is still 24% less than it was in 2019, but the Spanish capital is still performing better than Rome, which is recovering the slowest. A total of $7bn was brought in through tourism in the eternal city in 2022 – 30% less than in 2019.

While money spent by tourists plays a huge part in these figures, the jobs tourism creates are another key factor in measuring the industry’s positive impact. There are currently more travel and tourism workers (322,000) in Paris than in any of the other cities in the report, which may help explain why they are recovering quickly.

Before the pandemic, there were around 976,000 jobs in travel and tourism across the five cities. In 2020, this number was slashed by 41% to 580,000 as the virus infected the entire continent. However, the past few years have seen steady growth, and there are now 807,000 travel and tourism workers across the five cities.

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“Travelers Are Flocking Back”

Everyone should celebrate this news. The governments of each country will gratefully receive the economic boost, and it should also reassure avid travelers worldwide that Western Europe is once again a safe place to travel to.

While Eastern Europe will remain an avoided region due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these five beautiful cities will open their arms to everyone from all corners of the globe. Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, is also overjoyed with the data. She said:

“Travelers are flocking back to Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome. Business travel is growing steadily, and China’s reopening brings welcome visitors to cities across Europe. Tourists provide a massive boost to both the economy and job creation.

The national and local governments must continue to recognize the importance of travel and tourism for the local and national economies, jobs, and businesses.”

This article was produced and syndicated by The Impulse Traveler.

Andrew Delaney
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