In spring 2020, EU countries went into a lockdown because of the global COVID pandemic. The lockdowns and travel restrictions had a significant effect on people’s travel habits.
Two years on, we ask Christophe Demunter from Eurostat how the changes in the way we travel are reflected in the tourism statistical data. Before the pandemic, about two thirds of people in the EU travelled, while in 2020, the number of people who took at least one trip away from home dropped to under 50%.
It is no surprise that airline travel saw a large drop, but on the other hand, hotel accommodation numbers suffered relatively less – why is that? Christophe explains some of the reasons behind this difference.
Ulf Sonntag from the German research institute New Insights for Tourism (NIT) looks into some employment trends in tourism, which has traditionally offered more low-skilled jobs and temporary contracts. The COVID pandemic caused an exodus of those people into other, more stable sectors.
However, Eurostat data show that the overall employment decrease in the tourism sector was relatively small compared to the drop in visitors’ numbers. This shows that tourism companies tried to find solutions to keep their permanent staff in the hopes of a quick end to restrictions.
We also ask some people in the street how their experiences and habits changed because of the pandemic – and the answers are surprising. From more travels closer to home and more stress because of fears of infection and rules, to those who saw the changes brought on by the pandemic as an opportunity to travel more, because of classes moving online.