The UK hotel sector has seen the quickest recovery of occupancy levels in Europe with rates now back to more than 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels.
According to the latest data from industry specialist STR, hotel occupancy in the UK reached 87 per cent of comparable 2019 levels in mid-April – this was the highest percentage in Europe, just ahead of Poland (at 84 per cent occupancy) and Ireland (81 per cent).
Across the entire continent, hotel occupancy has improved to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels as the industry has bounced back from the blip seen in early 2022 due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Robin Rossmann, STR’s managing director, added: “In general, leisure-dependent markets have been furthest ahead in the timeline, but there are encouraging signs recently of life returning to gateway cities that are more reliant on corporate demand.”
STR is predicting that major European hotel markets should return to 90-to-100 per cent of 2019 occupancy levels by the middle of this month.
The UK has been consistently leading the way for hotel recovery in Europe over the past year. But it was briefly overtaken by Poland in March, when occupancy rose to 94 per cent in the weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine as Ukrainian refugees fled across the border to escape the war and were housed in hotels. Although Polish hotel occupancy has now fallen back to below UK levels.
Countries such as Austria, Italy and Germany continue to lag other major European nations in the recovery of hotel occupancy rates so far this year.