Crisis In Ukraine Causes Uneven Recovery Numbers for European Tourism

In Europe as a whole, foreign tourist arrivals and the number of booked hotel nights in the first quarter of 2024 have exceeded pre-pandemic numbers. The problem for the EU tourism sector is that certain countries are booming with tourists while others are struggling mightily.

This may actually be good news for travelers. Most of the countries that are not getting as many tourist arrivals are Balkan states. However, there may be secure travel routes to get to these places. Some of them are far away enough from the actual war zone that people will be safe. Since not many folks are headed there for vacation, it could be a perfect time to find good deals.

On the other hand, the countries that are picking up the slack and putting the EU tourism numbers above pre-pandemic levels may not be ideal for budget travelers. The Paris case is the one that stands out the most for this summer. Thanks to the fact that the Olympics are going to be held in the French capital, even the entrance to the Louvre Museum and the cost of tickets for the Paris subway system are more expensive. This data on the rise of European tourism could help you craft a more budget-friendly vacation across the pond.

Foreign arrivals in total are up 7.8% across Europe, and overnight stays are up 6.5% compared to 2019. The list of countries getting more visitors than in the pre-pandemic area is led by Serbia and Bulgaria, of all places. Serbia is seeing an uptick of 47% in arrivals, and Bulgaria is getting 39% more people through its borders than in 2019. Turkey is third on the list, taking in 35% more travelers. It’s not like travelers are going as far away from the war as possible. Sure, Romania, Moldova, and the Black Sea separate each of these nations from Ukraine. In terms of distance, neither of these places is too far away from the conflict.

One reason these three countries top the European Union’s travel recovery list is the type of traveler making trips abroad. Most of the travelers are coming from within Europe itself. Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands are the four countries sending more people on foreign trips across the continent. It makes sense that many of these travelers would look for experiences outside the typical European destinations, such as Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and Berlin. These travelers can take those trips on any given weekend in some cases. Of course, an influx of US travelers who are seemingly crossing the pond in droves has also helped.

The tourism sectors in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, on the other hand, are struggling with the war in Ukraine. Latvia has seen a dip of around 34% in international arrivals, which is the worst on the list. Lithuania had recently invested in promoting itself as a viable tourist destination; however, it’s seeing 14% fewer visitors this year. Each of these countries borders some of the war zones. That doesn’t mean that every part of their territory is off-limits. Ironically, some of the countries that have seen an amazing turnaround in their tourism sectors are in a similar situation.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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