According to the latest data released by Eurostat, Greece and Cyprus are among the countries with a sharp drop in online short-term rental housing for 2020, to over 60%.
In 2020, customers spent around 272 million nights in short-term rental accommodation in the EU booked through Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group or Tripadvisor, which is a decrease of around 47% compared to 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
These data on short-term accommodation offered via these platforms are the result of a historic agreement between the European Commission and the four private collaborative economy platforms concluded in March 2020.
While overnight stays increased slightly in January and February 2020, compared to 2019, the start of COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020 brought tourist travel to near zero in April and May (-93.2% in April and -85.6% in May, compared to April and May 2019). After many countries relaxed travel restrictions in summer, the number of nights spent recovered, while remaining well below that of 2019 (-38.3% in July and -25.8% in August) . However, the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic in fall / winter 2020 had another severe impact on the number of bookings towards the end of the year (-71.8% in November).
Travel to domestic destinations
The short-term accommodation market has been impacted unevenly across Europe, with countries like Spain (-58.1%) and Italy (-60.2%) being hit harder than France (-25.0%) or Germany (-20.6%). Eight countries (Czechia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia and Iceland) recorded declines of more than 60%.
Regional data shows that traditional summer destinations around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as major cities, have been affected much more than the European average. Major urban tourist destinations such as Rome (-78.0%), Barcelona (-75.6%) or Prague (-73.5%), lost around three quarters of overnight stays in 2020.
The breakdown of overnight stays according to the origin of clients shows that domestic tourism declined only moderately (-6.7%), while international tourism fell by more than two-thirds.
Countries like Spain, Italy or Croatia, which in recent years had very high shares of international guests (67.7%, 74.1% and 95.4% respectively) have been much more affected than, for example, France or Germany, where the shares of international guests were much lower (42.7% and 36.9%). In these countries, some regions have even experienced an increase in the number of overnight stays.