One of the main concerns for the European economy is the fall of tourism during the COVID-19 crisis. International tourism in Europe has fallen 66% compared with the numbers from last year according to a statistic from the World Tourism Organization.
Since 20% of the European economy depends on this industry, the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee has been searching for solutions to restore international tourism while assuring safe measures that do not compromise tourists’ health. The central point on their strategy is to create an action plan that helps to restart tourism during the COVID-19 crisis.
The most popular touristic destinations and activities are open spaces and nature
This year tourists have preferred to travel to open spaces and avoid crowded places such as cosmopolitan capital cities or highly frequented destinations. After months of quarantine and staying at home, it seems that outside activities are becoming the most popular alternatives for this year's holidays.
For example, the paragliding company from the Canary Islands, Overfly, has been awarded one of the most prestigious prizes an attraction can receive, the TripAdvisor's Travellers’ Choice 2020. This means that, despite the demand decline in the tourism industry, users are choosing open-air activities and prefer to spend their time in nature.
Many businesses have been obliged to adapt their services to the new health measures so they are safer for the public and conform with their Governments' new restrictions. Therefore, hotels, resorts, and camping sites are still working and welcoming tourists but at reduced capacity and adding some changes to their procedures.
However, this change in the way people travel has hurt those countries where their economy depended primarily on the arrival of international tourists. To survive this crisis, they must rethink their economic model and develop responses that encourage traveling and tourism.
How European countries are supporting the tourism industry
Governments have had a quick response on this matter, and they have created different alternatives that can help to restore the tourism industry and help to encourage it within the European Union.
On the other hand, it has also been important for them to provide financial support and economical relief to small businesses and self-employed to help them survive the incoming economic crisis and the descending demand.
On June 15th, the European Commission created a new app called ‘Re-Open EU’’ which will help Europeans to travel safer across countries and is always informed about the last actualizations about the virus while they are on holiday.
In addition to this, the Commission has also encouraged freedom of movement within the European borders ending controls and supervising the restrictions that are taken in the Member States so they are carried out under EU permission.
There is a 53% of global destinations that are easing their restrictions
Despite the discouraging news that the tourism sector is receiving, the cooperation and fast response of many European Governments have caused the ease of restrictions in 53% of the global destinations. There is a higher level of concern regarding health and hygiene information at these destinations, which means that hotels, attractions, bars, restaurants, and so on, can provide a safer service to their customers.
The European Commission asks for European Citizens to be cautious so they must follow each country's measures when traveling. It is vital to ensure their protection and wellbeing while encouraging and supporting tourism.