Europeans optimistic about travel plans, Spain top choice

by Deborah Cater
Europeans optimistic re travel plans, Spain top choice

54% of Europeans plan to travel in the next six months, either domestically or to another European country. In encouraging travel within Europe, the efficiency of vaccination programmes remains the crucial factor.

These travel plans demonstrate strong pent-up demand, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC).

The travel sentiment of Europeans continues to show an upward trend, according to the latest report ‘Monitoring Domestic and Intra-European Travel Sentiment – Wave 5’ published by the European Travel Commission. Spain (10.2%), Italy (7.8%), France (6.5%), Greece (6.1%) and Germany (5.2%) are the five most popular European countries to travel to this spring and summer. For the majority of those surveyed (64%), holiday is the main purpose for travelling.

Impact of COVID-19 on travel plans

The monthly report provides up-to-date information on the impact of Covid-19 on Europeans’ travel plans and preferences. It shows that the introduction of stricter travel regulations in Europe, the possibility of being quarantined and the increase in infections continue to worry 15% of Europeans.

69% of respondents say they feel safer and more relaxed when destinations have strict health and safety protocols. 21% of respondents say the protocols can also negatively affect their travel experience.

Hope for mass vaccination fuels appetite for travel

At the same time, Covid-19 vaccines remain the main driver to travel again. The hope is mass vaccination in Europe will contribute to the recovery of tourism. 11% of Europeans say an effective Covid-19 vaccination campaign plays an important role in the decision to travel again. 11% also look at the effectiveness of the corona policy at the destination. 10% of respondents consider it important to be tested before departure.

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Reasons for reluctance

The most frequently mentioned concerns about travel remain the possibility of being quarantined during a trip (16%), the increase in the number of infections (14%) and the chance of becoming ill at the destination (13%).

Demand for sun and beach destinations

Europeans’ interest in sun and beach holidays is increasing as spring and summer approaches. There is also interest in city breaks (16%). Cultural and heritage tours remain a favourite with 14% of European travellers.

According to the survey results, more than a third of Europeans (34%) are optimistic about taking their next trip between May and July 2021. Travellers from the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria are the most enthusiastic about planning a trip to the coast. In the coming months, Poland (80.2%), Italy (60.7%), Austria (55.4%), Belgium (55.3%) and Spain (51.8%) are likely to be the top five countries travelling.

Respondents’ desire to travel within Europe is steadily increasing. For example, 41% of those surveyed say they would like to travel to another European country, the highest figure since the survey began. At present, 35% prefer to stay in their own country.

Confidence in air travel increases

Confidence in air travel is gradually increasing, fuelling hopes of a recovery in intra-European travel. The percentage of European travellers who plan to take the plane has increased from 49% in September 2020 to 54% in January 2021. Only 16% of Europeans consider flying to be a health risk.

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