With pandemic-era restrictions largely in the rear-view mirror, Europe's sunnier vacation destinations are looking at possible record numbers of vacationers this summer, many seeking to make up for lost years of sun and sand.
Tourism experts say that early bookings show that Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, the biggest destinations for Europeans vacationers, could set records this summer that exceed even the best pandemic years. One trend noted in several places: more interest in the luxury end of the travel spectrum.
Tourism is an important revenue source for many areas of the countries, and losses over the past few years have been heavy, so the prospect of renewed, and profitable, business is important. Greece, for instance, counts on tourism for 20% of its gross domestic product, and while the percentage is lower for some of the other countries, it is critical in their resort areas.
The effects of the surge are also good news for airlines and other carriers, who are already reporting strong summer bookings as well as healthy demand for Christmas travel.