EU tourism in 2021 - Not very big, not very scary

I immediately admit: The title is not mine. I "took over" it from the European Travel Commission (ETC) from ETC's Intelligence Report for May 2021. It is obvious: from ...

I immediately admit: The title is not mine. 

I "downloaded" it from the European Travel Commission (ETC) from ETC's Intelligence Report for May 2021.

It is obvious: honey and milk do not flow from the mouths of European experts.

It is also clear why. This 2021 started despite optimistic announcements that it ended in 2020. 

Vaccinations have not started as desired, except in Hungary and Malta, which nota bene expect 70% vaccination by the end of 2021 (meaning - it is possible if desired), some new strains have "disintegrated", some powerful emitting tourist countries have extended the established lockdown despite different announcements.

Zicer turned into a verisimilitude

The Covid-19 proved to be a much tougher rival than we had hoped.

Many forecasts have been created ad hoc Covidologist of all kinds (a term created for this occasion on the model of former "Kremlin scientists" - Western experts who monitored and assessed the situation and phenomena in the countries of the former USSR) proved inaccurate, and many predictions of prominent medical scientists, whose marathon discussions we had the opportunity to read by portals, nebulous.

Therefore, Easter 2021 did not bring a smile but once again raised eyebrows on the faces of tourism workers. "Zicer", as in September 2020, turned into a "verisimilitude".

And this is not the first time, when it comes to Covid-19.

So now we need to ask the right questions: 

  • Where are we?
  • Where are we going?
  • Have we learned the material from 2020?

Let's go in order.

Current estimates from the first quarter show that the European tourist year will be 48% lower in terms of turnover compared to the reference year 2019. Let's say - by half. Still not encouraging enough.

In 2020, for example, the smallest declines in Europe per overnight stay were recorded in Austria (-41,2%), Luxembourg (-52,4%), Italy (-54,2%), Croatia (-54,6%) ), Germany (-54,7%), the Netherlands (-58,8%) and Monaco (-59,4%).

A full recovery follows, according to ETC experts and their external analysts, in 2024, although I see no reason not to do so as early as 2023. 

I therefore remain committed to my assessment of "magic balls”From 4.1.2021, which, I repeat, for the tourist 2021 reads:”Considering all these and other variables as well the so-called factor. latent demand (guests who are ready to travel before vaccination and vaccination), I estimate the potential total return of tourism worldwide in 2021 compared to 2019 from about 55 to 60% and the slowest in Europe, the fastest in China, Japan and the US, but the largest partly due to the announced diversion to domestic tourism.

As far as Croatia is concerned, 65 to 70% (in family luxury villas and 95 to 100%) is expected in individual accommodation, 60 to 65% in hotel tourism, and 90 to 95% in nautical and adventure tourism (outdoor) compared to 2019. ''


And one incidental curiosity. 

It is estimated that some countries such as Romania, Germany, Poland, Finland and Sweden will compensate part of the foreign tourism with domestic traffic. What a grace!

What to worry about - right now 

Personally, I am worried about something else at the moment. Domestic tourist-entrepreneurial way of thinking, or in modern terms - mindset.

Late vaccinations (I'm just wondering if EU bureaucrats have at least symbolically reduced salaries because of that, of course not, because for them it's a utopia) will concentrate a critical part of tourist overnight stays in the second half of June, July and August with some prospect for September. 

We are losing, at least as things stand now, three or three and a half tourist potent months in the tourist 2021. That is, to be more precise, we are returning, by force of circumstances, to paraphrase our former umbrella slogan - "tourism as it once was".

Colloquially speaking, Covid 19 passports or, more simply, digital certificates of vaccinations will be introduced, the level of domestic vaccination will increase by the summer and in the summer to the currently optimistic 50% i .. and - should we still be concerned?

That! It will not save us all, nor will declarations such as: "We are in control of the situation!" nor nicely designed labels ”Safe stay in Croatia ".

We will be saved by credible and fully implemented, above all, preventive tourist sanitary and health measures and actions. Which is especially important if we keep in mind that 3 out of 4 Europeans surveyed in February this year indicated that they want to travel as tourists in a family formation or environment. And when it comes to the health of our family, there is no place to play and improvise.

I noticed a recent statement from a shipping agent, who works with a premium charter in Dalmatia. 

He says that the guests are asking for the crew to be vaccinated, and when asked about the disinfection of the interior of the ships, the lady said, "they received a gallant answer". I don't want to be critical at all costs, but, colleagues, in a pandemic there is the least - gallantry. Unfortunately, the virus does not recognize this category.

It is a question of clear and effective measures, specifically, to neutralize the so-called pathogens both on surfaces and even more so - in the air. Without charm or with charm. We have posted the aforementioned labels, and yes, hand on heart, we are not sure if the truth everywhere meets the demands of reality.

Do we still think that we will solve "just about everything" with a cloth, hand disinfectants, or will we set even stricter and clearer technologically modern rules of the game in defense of our destination present and future.

The first outage, like that unfortunate return in September 2020 - and here we are at the beginning.

To one of my questions to a good connoisseur of hotel equipment, whether domestic hoteliers and charter and cruising organizers have approached comprehensive space and surface disinfection measures by purchasing and using UV-C equipment and technology, which really has the potential to destroy viruses and bacteria in UV rays. space almost 100% efficiently without the presence of people during the processing and procedure, I was told that except for a few exceptions - no, because, for example, hoteliers "now do not have the money for such equipment." 

I acknowledge and appreciate this fact in the first place, asking myself immediately if they will find the money if their system starts to break through due to the intensification of arrivals and the inevitable higher concentrations of people in the interior.

And let's not forget the global reality that there is a justified danger that nature will again, due to permanent planetary imbalance, strike back in the coming years some new pandemics still unknown to the general public, which are "crouching" and waiting for their chance.

And when I thought I was exaggerating about all this - look at the miracles, this is the first measure recommended by the renowned opinion maker and world consulting company McKinsey & Company in the article Hotel and COVID-19: How long does it take until there are "no vacancies" for American hotels?”Back in June 2020 in the section The road to recovery: Make hotels experientially safe ”

To the thesis about the need, ie the item "intensive cleaning of rooms", the first thing respondents want is for hotels to effectively and unquestionably protect guests, and the first offered and accepted answer in analyzing the item "more intensive cleaning" - is explicitly and without hesitation - UV equipment.

Unannounced demonstration trial exercise

Our other cultural, sociological and thus tourist habit is a typified answer - Everything works.

How does it go in practice?

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia asks the county tourist boards if we are prepared to, God forbid, solve the situation of identified Covid-19 infected guests, they forward it to the offices at the city and municipality level and follow the waterfall of unified answers: “Everything is organized! No problem!" 

Is that so?

I am an optimist and I support Croatian tourism with all my heart and soul. But I’m not and I don’t want to be blind.

Because there are always problems in everything, let alone in such a delicate situation.

I therefore recommend to the sincerely responsible people at the head of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports as well as the entire structure of tourist boards at all levels to make in each county, city and municipality unannounced trial demonstration exercise type ”We received a Covidom-19 infected family. Or better yet a bus of such guests. What to do next?" 

Something between "mystery shopping and reality check-up". And that, I repeat, unannounced. 

Let’s see what happens in real life in our smaller and larger destinations. 

Not to be, you know - there is no nurse on duty, because she went to the kindergarten earlier today to pick up the child, one of the two doctors in the local office took the day off that day, which belongs to him, and the other went to fish with a friend. And thirdly - we do not know where we will accommodate the guests from the bus and how to process them. So to see races and scrambles.

I repeat in good faith and on time - let's not accidentally work again from zicera - verisimilitude.

As did the EU bureaucracy with vaccine procurement.

Author: Edvin Jurin / Photo: Suzy Hazelwood, Pexelscom / Illustration:

/ / / Podcast Homo Turisticus by 

As you know, we recently launched an audio podcast where every Sunday we bring tourist loud reflections from guests who have attitude, passion, experience, opinion and story. In the second podcast, I talked to Edvin Jurin, so I definitely recommend that you listen to your thoughts on managing a tourist destination in peace. 

In audio format, learn what a brand really is, why it matters, what an experience economy is, how to approach structuring an experience, how to develop a destination as a brand, how to measure destination branding success, what the future of destination management is and many more topics. 

EP.02 - Edvin Jurin - Managing a tourist destination as a brand

Get involved in a constructive and argumentative discussion. Listen, comment, share because two heads are always smarter than one. Tourism is stories, let’s tell stories.

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