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Top Destinations in Europe in Q4 2020

News The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed traveling preferences for millions of people worldwide. Today, destinations that were on the top even a year ago are virtually forgotten while some destinations are back in the spotlight. The latest issue of the Quarterly Barometer by ForwardKeys and European Cities Marketing identifies the most popular and resilient European destinations for the fourth quarter of 2020.

It turns out that Paris is the top destination in the region at the moment. Normally the second most popular city in Europe, the French capital has left its competitors behind. However, hotels in Paris are still struggling – the current level of bookings is 82.3% below the level of 2019. The data obtained from air carriers also proves that the passenger volume is significantly below the previous year’s results. As of the end of October, inbound flight bookings to the EU and the UK are 85.6% down year-on-year.

That being said, smaller leisure destinations do not suffer from so drastic decreases. While these are not the best performers in terms of the absolute number of guests, such destinations show incredible resilience during this tough period. For example, the capital of Crete, Heraklion, has flight bookings that are only 25.4% down year-on-year. Heraklion hotels keep greeting numerous leisure tourists who arrive to see the Palace of Knossos and other ancient attractions.

Faro is the second most resilient destination in Europe. Famous for premium golf resorts and clean beaches, this gate to the Algarve region in Portugal is almost half (48.7%) behind its 2019 result. Ranks 3 to 5 are occupied by Athens, Naples, and Larnaca respectively. These destinations are from 71% to 74% down compared to the bookings of 2019. Here are other destinations in the top 10 rank of the most resilient European destinations in Q4 2020: Porto (74.5% down), Palma Mallorca (74.6% down), Stockholm (75.8% down), Malaga (78.2% down), and Lisbon (78.8% down).

Even though borders are closed and it feels like tourism is hibernating, we can clearly see that people keep making travel plans. However, there are certain shifts in consumer behavior caused by the pandemic. For example, leisure travel recovers better than business travel. The Christmas period has higher bookings than other months. People tend to make short-term travel plans rather than long-term plans because of possible limitations and lockdowns. Finally, reduced prices and cheaper airfares make people more willing to travel.


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