2021: Tourism revival? Some data insights from Belgium and the Netherlands!
2021 was the year of the turning point, at least as far as COVID-19 was concerned. Did the corona vaccinations have an impact on tourism? Were there more bookings in the summer of 2021 than in the summer of the crisis year before? And is local tourism still so popular? We answered some key questions!
Do we travel again in 2021?
Percentage of bookings
The further we get in 2021, the more reservations are booked, both in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Most likely, the vaccination campaign plays a big role here. The more people are vaccinated, the more flexible the regulations are and the greater people's confidence is to travel again. What is also striking is the widening gap between the Netherlands and Belgium through 2021. Tourism in the Netherlands has seen a bigger rise than in Belgium when we take January 2021 as the reference point.
*Jan = reference point
Absolute number of bookings
When we compare the number of bookings in 2020 with the number of bookings in 2021, we see a lower number of bookings in the months of June and July in the Netherlands. However, the curve continues to rise for the time being. In September, even more bookings were made than during the classic popular summer months July and August.
If we make the same comparison in Belgium, we see that 2021 was a lot better than 2020. From March 2021 onwards, the number of bookings in Belgium is consistently higher than the previous year.
Are we booking a longer stay in 2021?
As far as the length of stay in the same accommodation is concerned, not much has changed. The curve remains fairly constant throughout the year 2021, both in Belgium and in the Netherlands. When people travel, they book a stay of 1 to 2 nights on average. This was also the case in 2020.
Are overnight stays in hotels and B&Bs more expensive in 2021?
In the second half of 2020, we saw prices equal to the "normal" averages of early 2020. In 2021 we see the curve rising. After the summer, prices seem to lower a bit again in both Belgium and the Netherlands, but travelling in summer 2021 was definitely more expensive compared to the year before. Most likely, the damage caused by COVID-19 is partly passed on to the consumer.
Are we still booking last-minute in 2021?
At the beginning of 2021, bookings were made in advance. Some 1 to 2 months before the actual arrival date, the overnight stays were already booked. As 2021 progresses, we see the curve drop. Last-minute bookings (booked no earlier than 30 days before arrival) are on the rise again from June onwards. This increase in last-minute bookings may be due to some delays in vaccination campaigns or to changes in regulations (coronapas, compulsory tests, red zones and local measures). As a result, many people preferred to wait before making a definitive booking for their trip.
Is local tourism still popular in 2021?
We see two very contrasting curves. Whereas local tourism became considerably more popular in 2020, this is no longer the case in 2021. A significant drop from 90% to 50%, both in Belgium and in the Netherlands. So, there is more travel to Belgium and the Netherlands, but the tourists are less likely to come from their own country.
The number of domestic tourists may be declining, but German tourists are finding their way to the Netherlands remarkably more often from June 2021 onwards.
In Belgium, too, we see a decrease in domestic bookings, but a notable increase in bookings from the Netherlands.
Are we booking direct in 2021?
In 2020, we saw a sharp increase in direct bookings. The corona situation certainly played a role in this. Travellers liked to keep in touch with the owner of the accommodation to double-check things like cancellation conditions and safety. On average, almost 20% of all bookings were made directly. That was an increase of 65% compared to 2019.
Although the curve is decreasing, direct bookings are still very much in demand in 2021. In the summer of 2021 (July-August-September), over 18% of all bookings were made directly. This is an increase of 68% compared to the summer months in 2019.
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