After nearly three years after the onset of the global travel restrictions and after years of navigating through local guidelines, regulations, and mandates, the European tourism industry is finally on the road to recovery. Still, the travel landscape continues to shift and change throughout the continent, forcing tour and activity providers to regularly rely on the most up-to-date European tourism statistics to adapt accordingly.

The transforming European travel landscape

As the travel rebound in Europe continues to take shape, the landscape is adjusting to the new preferences of consumers. According to Travel Agent Central, the number of domestic travelers will reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, while the international travel market will not fully recover until 2025. This is not to say that people are not traveling to Europe, however. Most European tourism statistics highlight a growing demand among travelers from around the globe, but the needs of those travelers have changed.

Currently, the demand for long-haul travel throughout Europe continues to lag behind other types of travel experiences. This is particularly true among Asian travelers, who were subjected to long-term pandemic restrictions and therefore feel a greater sense of unease and uncertainty about traveling in the current climate. American travelers, however, are more likely to book extended tours in Europe, as they were not under restrictions for as long.

Despite the fact that most travelers are booking shorter, more affordable trips to Europe, the European travel market is expected to generate more than $280 billion in 2023, according to Statista. Consumers are craving travel experiences again, and they are still making up for lost time — meaning that many are willing to spend more when they are at a destination, even if they are there for a shorter stay.

The increasing importance of the Chinese market

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the Chinese market was the most sought-after market segment in Europe. In a Jing Daily article citing World Travel & Tourism Council data, more than 10 million Chinese tourists visited countries throughout the European Union, bringing in an inbound revenue of more than $12 billion.

European tourism statistics

However, due to the length of the COVID-zero policy employed by China, the Chinese travel market has all but disintegrated over the past several years. Once the policy was rescinded, there was hope that the robust Chinese travel market would reappear once again, but logistical hurdles slowed down its recovery. Many Chinese travelers had to wait for flight paths to be re-established, and many had to reapply for passports and other travel documents that had expired during the travel pause.

Many European tour operators are hopeful that the number of Chinese travelers will continue to increase month after month, particularly as Golden Week approaches in October.

Hurdles that European tour operators must overcome

The excitement about the European tourism rebound is palpable, but there are still challenges to face. Some of the hurdles that European tour operators need to overcome include:

  • Increasing staff in order to accommodate a higher volume of travelers.
  • Establishing a pricing structure that motivates travelers but also accommodates the rising cost of doing business.
  • Creating a plan to navigate severe weather events, including extended heat waves.

What European travelers expect

People who are traveling throughout Europe have a new set of expectations in the aftermath of travel restrictions and in the midst of rising inflation. These are the trends that are shaping the European tourism market in 2023.

Budget-friendly options

Maximizing your tourism profit

Inflation has caused prices to skyrocket across the globe, which means that many tourists have the desire to travel — but not as much money to work with. In fact, about 50% of all European travelers have budgeted the same amount of money for travel in 2023 as they did in 2022. Only about 10% of travelers intend to spend more in 2023 than they did the previous year. Demand for travel experiences and products continues to increase, but many people are looking for loyalty programs and discount codes that allow them to get more value from each experience that they book.

Sustainable excursions

The vast majority of travelers in Europe — upwards of 75% of tourists — are willing to pay more for sustainable travel products. However, they will only make this investment if they truly understand the value of going with this higher-cost, eco-friendly option, so it’s important to clearly define your commitment to sustainability.

Inspirational content

There is a generational divide among European travelers over where to get information and inspiration about their next getaway. Most travelers over the age of 40 still crave traditional materials, such as travel books, magazines, and promotional flyers. Younger travelers, however, are hooked on digital media. They are more likely to trust online reviews, social media pages, and web content over printed travel guides and other traditional material that they may consider dated.

European tourism trends

Cultural experiences

The top destinations in Europe are those cities that offer cultural experiences, such as museums, art galleries, and theater performances. The most in-demand destinations in 2023 include Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

Five tools European tour operators need to accommodate European tourism trends

The European travel recovery is still in progress, but the complete rebound will arrive sooner than you think. As a tour and activity operator based out of Europe, you can be prepared by investing in:

An efficient, automated online booking system

As you begin to prepare for an increasing number of travelers, you will want to start automating your most repetitive tasks with an intuitive property management system. A premier online booking solution will offer real-time bookings, inventory management tools, automated customer communications, and comprehensive reporting. By 2027, tour operators can expect nearly 78% of revenue to be generated through online sales, so now is the best time to invest in the right technology.

A secure payment processing system

Travelers want to book and pay online, but they need to be able to trust you. In fact, a secure payment processing system is one of the top considerations travelers make before they finalize their bookings. Not only will an integrated payment solution, such as RezdyPay, increase your travelers’ confidence in your brand, but it also can drive bookings. According to Shopify, businesses that accept mobile payments can see conversion rates rise by as much as 250%.

To find out more about the best payment gateways for tour and activity businesses, check out this video:

Flexible product options

Tourists are only just now beginning to plan longer, more extensive trips to Europe, and many are staying away from the big-box trips that are planned by major travel agencies. Rather, they are creating their own itineraries and focusing on local tour and activity operators. As a result, you need to be willing to be flexible and provide them with the ability to book at the last minute, switch their reservations, or cancel if needed.

Strategic partnership opportunities

More and more travelers are finalizing their plans once they arrive at their chosen destination, and you can capitalize on this by creating strategic partnerships with other local suppliers. For instance, you may want to partner with a local restaurant to supply meal options for your tours — especially since more than 42% of travelers are willing to spend more on food once they have arrived at their destination.

An intuitive channel manager

A channel manager allows you to promote your offerings to a wide range of agents, including OTAs. This is the best way to gain exposure for your business and reach new market segments, particularly during this time of growth and recovery.

For instance, Rezdy Channel Manager is a marketplace platform designed specifically for tour operators. Through Rezdy Channel Manager, you’ll be able to connect with thousands of resellers and build your distribution channel with a click of a button.

Rezdy’s Marketplace platform simplifies the overall reselling process into 3 simple steps:
1. List your products
2. Set your commission rates
3. Let thousands of agents and resellers resell and promote your products

The good news is that if you’re already a Rezdy booking software customer, you instantly have access to Rezdy Channel Manager. Allowing you to benefit from the best of both worlds – an advanced booking system that will simplify your processes and the ability to instantly connect and manage thousands of resellers from one central system.


As European tourism statistics continue to emerge, tour operators throughout the continent will need to continue to refine their offerings and redefine their marketing strategies. In order to easily adapt, you will need an advanced software solution designed specifically for the tour and activity sector.

Rezdy is the leading online booking and distribution platform, offering all of the features you need to effectively operate your European tourism business. Begin your FREE 21-day Rezdy trial  or book a demo today.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to subscribe to the Rezdy newsletter, where you’ll receive up-to-date learnings and news from the Experiences industry, straight into your inbox.

Stay ahead of the European tourism trends with Rezdy

Enjoy 21 days to take a look around and see if we are a good fit for your business.

Get started today

No obligations, no catches, no limits, nada

activity tour business
section break
section break