The Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant impact on international travel and tourism in Western Europe is no exception.

All countries in Western Europe will find that they have been affected by Covid-19, where international borders have been closed and tourism levels have been at a modern era low. The economic loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic is set to be large, with the impact set to last for many years into the future.

Western Europe has been one of the hardest hit regions around the world and the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy all feature in the top 10 countries with the most cases globally.

Unsurprisingly, there is expected to be an enormous decline in the number of international arrivals to Western Europe in 2020. However, GlobalData forecasts that the number of international arrivals to the region will recover by 2022, although this could change.

France is expected to see the biggest decline in visitor numbers in 2020, declining by 35.5 million. This kind of decline will of course have an enormous impact on tourism companies operating within Western Europe and many have needed the support of government stimulus to ensure there is not widespread unemployment.

Although tourism will pick up again in 2021, companies will still need to devise strategies to ensure they can attract customers who will still be taking a cautious approach to holidays next year.

Expensive nature of Western Europe could be a major weakness

There is no doubt that Western Europe is an expensive region to visit. Zurich, Paris, Geneva and Copenhagen all feature in the world’s top 10 most expensive cities.

Cities in the Americas, Africa and Eastern Europe became less costly over the year, while those in Western Europe became relatively more expensive, in part reflecting a rise in European currencies against the US dollar, according to the World Economic Forum.

Covid-19 is going to hit the pockets of travellers hard and according to GlobalData’s latest COVID-19 Recovery Consumer Survey (2 to 6 December), 64% of respondents globally are concerned about their personal financial situation. This could lead to visitors from important source markets such as the US and China choosing to holiday closer to home. Furthermore, European holidaymakers could travel to cheaper regions further afield, prolonging the recovery of destinations in Western Europe.

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