Chris Galbraith @heycrisso

As vaccinations speed up across Europe, the region’s summer is looking hotter due to the easing of restrictions thanks to the vaccinations, and tourism is resuming. President of the European Travel Commission Luís Araújo confirmed this, saying, “In view of the rapidly advancing vaccination programs, which reduce pressure on national health systems and protect our most vulnerable, Europe is now managing the COVID risks well both for locals and our long-awaited travelers. We, therefore, believe that safe travel is possible this summer.” According to a report by the ETC, travel demand is predicted to rise over the second half of this year, which bodes well for the countries in the zone whose economies rely heavily on tourism.

Europe’s tourism recovery

According to the ETC report, three out of five destinations in the region have had an 80% drop in international tourists at the hands of the pandemic, with countries like Austria posting the biggest declines as their Covid-19 restrictions were hard and fast. However, Croatia has seen a 23% increase in tourist arrivals after removing travel restrictions for those who had been vaccinated, tested negative, or had recovered from Covid-19. Now, the rise in vaccines has seen the birth of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which encourages travel within Europe, however international arrivals may take longer to recover. Since the 9th of June, international visitors can now hit the shores of Europe, provided that they have a record of vaccination, a certificate of Covid recovery, or a negative test result. These criteria vary slightly, according to the destination, and certain countries, like the US, are on the “green” list for the region, which means that they don’t need to have a test if they have already been fully vaccinated.

In a twist of events, however, European tourism has been thrown a curveball by the Delta variant, which is spreading rapidly through some European countries and causing yet another wave, which may result in further restrictions. This is bad news for countries like Spain that rely heavily on tourism, but economists say that there will need to be a balance between opening countries up to international visitors and not furthering the spread of the virus. To mitigate this, visitors from areas like the UK, which are experiencing a huge rise in the Delta variant, have certain restrictions to abide by when they visit the likes of Spain, Portugal, and Malta, in order to curb the spread. The variant could therefore lead to a slower increase in tourism across the region, as countries balance the spread of the virus with their economies in a precarious act.

Travel and tourism in the markets

Travel companies like Booking.com shares prices have been impacted by Covid in a big way, but Booking Holdings is ready to make a comeback and poised to be a frontrunner when travel is reignited. The company has pivoted towards collecting merchant revenues more than travel agency revenues to ease damage inflicted by the pandemic and help the company become more profitable by shifting its business model according to the current changes in the world. This shift also includes expanding Booking.com shares in the US and tapping into the large market on offer in the powerhouse country. Those who are thinking about trading Booking.com shares prices as CFDs should keep an eye on the company now that Europe’s tourism is beginning to show signs of life.

While AirBnb was also at the mercy of the pandemic, its stock is looking up, especially in Europe as vacation rentals take off again. It’s been a tough year for AirBnb, whose stock has dropped by 2% this year, while competitors like Expedia have risen by 22%. While AirBnb shares could follow the rise in European tourism, this will also depend on the current Delta variant rolling through some European countries, putting a damper on their summer hopes. On July 14th, AirBnb shares closed at a price of $143.41.