European Spotlight: Resilience Tested in Q3 & Q4


As the Coronavirus tidal wave rolls its way through the world for Round Two, European cities have been tested for their resilience in Quarter Three and Four. Will the theme of “Sun and Fun” help countries stay afloat? ForwardKeys examines the latest flight data to share with you the freshest insights.


Q3 Travel Performance in Europe

202011-ECM-Barometer-1-minIn a world showing negative indicators and minuses in terms of international arrivals, during Q3 Europe was a bastion of hope. The year on year variations per region showed that Europe was down by 74.7%, a position much better than the Asia-Pacific, -94.5%.

This figure to Europe was namely due to the success some of the Southern European countries and cities managed to achieve via re-opening their frontiers. From July 1 to September 30, Southern Europe was down by 69.2% in international arrivals when compared to the previous year. London on the other hand slumped to a sad -85.6%. Meanwhile, sunny Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete was down by 30.9%.

202011-ECM-Barometer-2-minIndeed, a common theme carried through the summer: sun and sand destinations still appealed to travellers seeking to escape the stress of Covid-19. The appeal was further supported by brief ease in travel restrictions and airlines offering competitive fares from Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands to Southern Europe.

“This summer saw Portugal and Greece put on the map as the place to be in Europe. Smaller, lesser-known cities such as Heraklion in Greece and Faro in Portugal beat the typical tourism hotspots in each destination. Clearly, people still wanted to keep a safe distance away from others even when on holidays,” said Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys.


European leisure market prospects in Q4

“Through our Actual Air Tickets data, we can see Leisure travel for the Christmas period is starting to pick up, demonstrating that people have not given up hope on travelling somewhere for Christmas. Regarding Business travel, we believe this sector will remain flat over the next few months as long-haul travel is put on pause,” informs Ponti.

202011-ECM-Barometer-3-min-1What will be interesting to examine upon closer inspection over the Christmas period is the number of leisure travellers versus returning visiting friends and family (VFR) and/or expats.

“In Q3 in Dublin, Ireland, it was the VFR segment driving the number of international arrivals at -57% in comparison to leisure at -84% for arrivals from July 1 to October 13,” adds Ponti.

Lastly, Olivier Ponti shines some sunshine with a sunny trend. “One trend that will continue through to December from examining the tickets issued as of October 27 for travel from October – December, Christmas this year is less about it being a “White Christmas” and more about it being a sunny one as Faro (51.3% YOY), Mallorca (-67.3% YOY) and Porto -71.9% YOY) prove to be the most resilient cities in Q4.”


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