The results are out regarding the travel figures in Europe for Q3 & Q4, and it really feels like a “lucky dip” – part sweet, part not what you expected.

Hot demand for the Mediterranean

Tickets issued for travel to Spain, Greece and Portugal soared in a clear correlation with their announcements of border reopening in mid/late May. These tickets were predominantly made for Leisure, Group and VFR travel. Tickets issued for travel to Athens and Lisbon rebounded far quicker than the European average, Barcelona lagged, but not as far behind as London – which is yet to see much of a rebound.

The top 5 European countries: France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands are all seeing about 40% of 2019 ’s volumes for intra-European travel, aside from Spain, which is lagging at 22% of last year’s volumes – when dates are compared from January 6 – July 12, 2020, with the same time last year.

The EU’s authorisation of travellers from 14 countries (excluding China for the moment) to enter the zone has proven not to be enough. Tickets issued from these countries since the news was announced are still down -92% compared to last year. This is partially due to travel restrictions being lifted for some arrivals in Europe while excluding many countries on this list, making travel impossible for them.


The Resilience of Vintage Europe – Greece & Italy

For Q3 this year, the top 10 performing European destinations are all set to be Southern European beach cities, with Greece dominating as the place to be this summer.

This list of cities with shares of European travel of at least 0.2% includes 5 Greek cities, 3 from Spain, 1 in Croatia and 1 in Italy. The top 3 cities are Zadar -14.1%, Chania -32.1% and Ibiza -34.3%.

However, for Q4 we see the rise in demand for Italy, especially to Sardinia, Calabria, and Puglia. Are these holidaymakers or eager VFR returning home? In Greece, we also see tickets issued to Corfu, Kalamata, and Crete increase – not the traditional party islands of Mykonos or Santorini.

Meanwhile, the Balearic Islands, steal the crown as the most resilient and consistent destination in Spain from Q3 to Q4 with even a growth of 8.8% seen in Menorca.20200818-ECM-barometer-1

“What this data shows is that, yes, there is still demand to travel within Europe, especially to Southern European destinations which are resilient. However, people are still not taking risks and choosing more remote, less touristic destinations where social distancing can be respected,” says Luis Millan, Market Researcher at ForwardKeys.

“Moreover, Greece, Portugal and Spain were one of the first countries to announce the re-opening of their borders – bookings soared soon after as there were flights also available, “adds Millan.

Top Urban Escapes in Europe

In terms of top European “urban” cities, Lisbon, Paris, and Barcelona are the top 3 inbound destination cities for international travellers in October, November and December when examining tickets issued as of August 10.


Europe is proving to be a lot more resilient during summer, despite being one of the regions most adversely impacted by Covid-19. Now the world is waiting and watching to see if this course will continue in the same vein in hope of a recovery as rumours swirl that there will be a second outbreak in Autumn.

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Last updated on Monday, 24/08/2020


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