Europe’s most resilient destinations in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic have been revealed as holiday hotspots. 

Total inbound flight bookings for the EU and the UK in the fourth quarter of the year at October 27 were 85.6% behind the same period in 2019.

However, bookings for Heraklion in Crete are only 25.4% behind 2019 levels, according to the latest data from research firm ForwardKeys and European Cities Marketing.

Faro, gateway to Portugal’s Algarve region, is 48.7% behind, followed by Athens (71.4% behind), Naples, (73.4% behind) and Larnaca (74.2% behind).

They are followed by Porto (74.5% behind) Palma (74.6% behind), Stockholm (75.8% behind), Malaga (78.2% behind) and Lisbon (78.8% behind).

ForwardKeys insights vice president Olivier Ponti said: “When one digs into the data behind these headline numbers, we see that people are still making travel plans and within those plans there are five clear trends.

“First, leisure and personal travel is holding up much better than business travel, which is virtually non-existent right now.

“Second, bookings are dominated by the Christmas holiday period.

“Third, people are booking at even shorter notice than usual, probably wary of travel restrictions being imposed without warning.

“Fourth, fares are consistently on the low side, with airlines doing everything in their power to tempt back travellers; and fifth, destinations which have remained open to EU travel, such as Stockholm, have suffered relatively less badly.” 

European Cities Marketing president Petra Stusek added: “The data from the latest barometer show the power and resilience of cities, even though the meetings industry is still running behind and the past months were very difficult for city tourism.

“This challenging time is frustrating for stakeholders within destinations and for DMOs. We are developing various tools and content to support our members on their path to recovery.”