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Italy, Spain, France, Greece & Croatia Are  Europe’s Top Destinations for Short-Term Travel

Mass vaccination and relaxation in entry requirements encouraged Europeans to book more short-term flights during the summer of 2021.

According to the results of a European Travel Council (ETC) survey, Mediterranean locations such as Italy, Spain and Greece make the top destinations in European travel lists, with 53 percent of 4,003 respondents answering ETC, reports.

Moreover, the survey reveals that outdoor and leisure tourism is the most sought after type of tourism for this period, with 38 percent of “early bird travelers” saying they plan to travel for sunbathing and beach times.

In other words, the best destinations in Europe for short-term travel that are ideal for sun, beach, and relaxation times include:


The country has been lauded for its tourism revival after it welcomed more than six million tourists this summer. According to Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theokaris, Greece has been a major destination even for the French, with 450,000 arrivals, who are also known to vacation locally. Greece’s revenue from tourism reached 12 billion euros this year.

>> Traveling to Greece amid COVID-19: Here’s what you need to know


About 8.1 percent of respondents are planning to or have visited Spain this summer, which is a 29 percent decrease compared to the last survey. However, official data from the Spanish authorities reveal that the country received about five million international travelers only in August, representing an increase of 172 percent compared to the same period last year.

Overall, Spain’s tourism sector saw a 78 percent increase in July 2021 compared to the previous year, accounting for 4.4 million tourists.

According to the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE), French travelers made up 19.9 percent of all arrivals, followed by Germans (64.5 percent), with 707,331 of whom visited the country as of July, and then the British, who scored 46.5 percent. A percent increase over last year.

>> Traveling to Spain during COVID-19: Here’s what you need to know


About 8.9 percent of all ETC survey respondents said they plan to visit Italy during this time. That number represents 356 people, but according to the Data Appeal Company, Italy recorded a 567 per cent increase in flight bookings and 1,091 per cent in hotel bookings from April to July.

The majority of tourists in Italy came from Western Europe, such as Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Spain and England.

And while these results are positive, they are still far from the 2019 figures. When comparing flight bookings for Italy in August 2021 versus August 2019, we detect a decrease of -46 percent,” explains the data provider.

However, domestic tourism in Italy has skyrocketed this summer, with 23 million Italians choosing their home country as their holiday destination.


Although only eight percent of ETC survey respondents said France was their number one destination, the country remains the most visited country in the world.

According to Condor Ferries, France received about 89.4 million visitors in 2018, with Euro Disney, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre being the most popular attractions in France. Moreover, the country received 35 million tourists in 2020. The target for this year was 50 million passengers, as vaccinations were implemented and the country eased entry restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus.

Travelers from all over the world visit France every year. However, the highest nationalities visiting the country are Belgians, Germans, Dutch, British and Americans, with the latter two showing a decline in interest due to strict entry restrictions.


According to the director of the Croatian National Tourism Board (HTZ), 2.6 million tourists and more than 11.7 million overnight stays were registered in Croatia, registering a 53 percent increase compared to last year. Moreover, interest in British travelers increased by eight per cent, recording 87,000 overnights during the first seven months of 2020.

In June, Croatia hosted around 290,000 visitors over the weekend alone, representing a 40 percent increase in the number of tourists over the 2020 figures.

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