Eurostat
Provence [Unsplash]

Eurostat: 2022 platform tourism levels surpass 2019 figures

Europe: Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union [EU], has revealed that guests spent around 199 million nights in short-term rental accommodation booked via Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia or TripAdvisor in the EU in the first half of 2022.

The number of nights booked represented an increase of around 138 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

As such, platform tourism surpassed the levels recorded in the first half of 2019, the year before the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, when platforms reported close to 193 million guest nights.

It marks the first time that Eurostat has published monthly data on short-stay accommodation offered via online platforms referring to the current year.

The data on short stay accommodation offered via Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and TripAdvisor is the result of a landmark data-sharing partnership between the European Commission and the four private collaborative economy platforms that was agreed in March 2020. Eurostat released its first key data on the European short-term rental sector in July last year.

Eurostat
[Credit: Eurostat]
Following a gradual recovery of booking numbers during the second half of 2021, in the first half of 2022, bookings reached and exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

In the first quarter, 67.4 million nights were booked, compared with 27.1 million during the same period in 2021 [a period heavily affected by mobility and border restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic] and 64.5 million nights in 2019.

The numbers rose to 132 million nights in the second quarter, compared with 56.7 million in 2021 and 128.8 million in 2019.

While comparisons with 2021 indicate a robust recovery in the 31 countries analysed, developments in each country since 2019 varied by their regions.

15 regions recorded more than one million guest nights booked in Q1 2022

Eurostat
[Credit: Eurostat]
Nine EU countries had more than ten million nights spent in 2019, with France seeing the most substantial increase – a 31 per cent rise on 2019 levels. In contrast, the rebounds in Italy and Austria were more stunted.

Five regions each in France and Spain were in the top 15 regions for highest growth, with more than one million guest nights booked via online platforms in the first quarter of 2022 [January to March]. Rounding out the top 15, Italy had two regions and Austria, Poland and Portugal had one region each.

The regions list includes Alpine regions, such as Tirol in Austria and Rhône-Alpes in France, where in 2019, 42.2 per cent and 31.5 per cent, respectively, of nights spent were registered in the first quarter. In the EU as a whole, that same share was only 12.6 per cent.

Regions along the Mediterranean [Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur, Catalonia and Andalusia], as well as the Canary Islands, also proved to be among the most popular in Europe.

Two regions [Rhône-Alpes in France and Canarias in Spain] had more than 4 million nights spent.

The last Eurostat data on the short stay accommodation sector was released in July when it was revealed that the number of nights booked across the four major platforms in the EU in 2021 rose by 34 per cent on 2020 levels to 364 million nights.

Meanwhile, The European Commission is in the middle of consulting on regulating the short-term rental market across the bloc, with the option of a single set of pan-European rules being considered.

A public consultation period on short-term rental accommodation services closed in December and a major update is expected on the consultation in November.

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