Most Europeans plan summer trips despite challenges

Almost three quarters of Europeans (73%) plan to take a holiday between June and November despite concerns over high inflation, the Ukraine war and ongoing pandemic.

Interest in visiting other European destinations (58%) has increased by 7% since last summer.

A third (31%) of respondents to a European Travel Commission study will head to an adjacent European country and 27% to a non-neighbouring one.

The top travel destinations remain Spain, France and Italy (10% each), followed by Greece (7%) and Croatia (6%).

Most Europeans plan on travelling during June and July (41%), or August-September (42%), with the majority favouring stays of between four and nine nights.

Insecurity about personal finances among Europeans has grown by 7% since last summer.

Inflation and rising travel costs have become the leading concern worrying 18% of holidaymakers. As a result, bargains and attractive deals are more important to Europeans when selecting their next holiday destination.

Despite these concerns, travel confidence is growing, with 53% of respondents having fully or partially booked their next trip.

Of those respondents who are open to travelling in the following months, 34% will take one trip, while 38% plan on travelling twice. As many as 20% of Europeans plan on taking more than three trips.

However, the booking window remains narrow, with almost half of the trips (49%) planned for June or July have not yet been fully booked.

This suggests that many are holding off for last-minute, cost-effective deals, according to the ETC.

More than a third of Europeans state that their travel plans are unaffected by Covid – the largest share since August 2020.

A desire to see strict health and safety protocols in place at travel destinations has dropped to its lowest point yet (now 55%, against 67% in March 2022).

Eagerness to travel during summer is stronger among those aged 55-plus (79%), possibly to make up for two years of relative holiday inertia caused by the pandemic.

Although geopolitical tensions have not impacted the larger share (44%) of Europeans with travel plans, a noticeable 31% have modified their trips due to the war in Ukraine while only 4% have completely cancelled their holidays.

Overall, travel sentiment remains resilient in the face of the ongoing conflict.

Good weather, attractive deals and fewer crowds are deciding factors when choosing a holiday destination, while spending time in nature (19%), tasting the local gastronomy and regional delicacies (16%) and immersing into a destination’s lifestyle (16%) are what travellers’ look forward to most.

ETC president Luis Araujo said: “It is encouraging to see the travel sector in Europe rebound strongly, providing optimism for an exciting summer for European destinations.

“Still, we cannot ignore the challenges that remain in the months ahead.

“In addition to rising inflation, there is an acute talent shortage across the sector in the wake of the pandemic.

“This is perhaps most visible in transportation hubs, which are struggling to cater to the increased demand due to a lack of staff. Building this capacity back again is imperative.

“ETC calls on the EU and European governments to reflect on how best to address these challenges and support the sector.”

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