As summer heath has hit Europe, its citizens are getting ready to travel despite the worsening inflation, prolonged war disruption and rising rates of Covid-19. The latest report from the European Travel Commission (ETC) predicts that this summer the number of trips will reach around 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Because many consumers were able to save money through the pandemic, the ECT expected travel demand to keep rising, but inflation could prove otherwise.
While travel sentiment remains strong, the savings base – which was expected to encourage growth – has been eroded by the increasing cost of living due to energy and food price hikes. Moreover, the steep acceleration in fuel prices also directly increases the price of travel and transport. Citizens now look to travel with cheaper transportation costs, choosing to celebrate staycations or visit nearby countries instead of travelling further from home.
This could potentially be good news for local museums and heritage sites. Where people normally would go abroad to visit cultural heritage there, local institutes and sites could profit from more people staying closer to home. For big venues however, problems can arise.
Staff shortage across Europe
Given the stronger than expected demand during 2022, the shortage of labour is creating staff shortages across the European travel and tourism sector. As a result, many destinations may struggle to facilitate the high demand this summer. The primary reasons cited for these shortages are the restricted pool of available workers, long lead times on security clearance and the sector is viewed as an unstable employment opportunity post-Covid.
Although staff shortages in hospitality are acute, a shortage of workers in the aviation sector is dominating headlines at moment, as workers went on strike at several airports to demand better wages and working conditions. Roughly 190,000 European aviation workers were laid off during the pandemic.
Despite airlines and airports reacting with recruitment drives, it is unlikely the industry will be able to respond within this peak summer season. Airports are cutting back the number of flights to mitigate the travel chaos that is expected to continue into the summer months as several air carriers announce strikes and cancel flights over labour shortages.
Bringing back talent, and making careers in the sector more enticing, is the top priority for European tourism recovery in the months to come
ETC President Luis Araújo
ETC President Luis Araújo confirmed that staff shortages could form a major obstacle for the European tourism and travel sector. “Bringing back talent, and making careers in the sector more enticing, is the top priority for European tourism recovery in the months to come.”
Next to that, he deemed it crucial to monitor the impacts of inflation on the cost of living. “Europe must do everything within its power to ensure that travel does not become inaccessible for the average European.”