As COVID-19 restrictions are easing down across Europe, citizens seem eager to start travelling again. Research conducted by the European Travel Commission (ETC) shows that at least 77% of Europeans are planning a trip. Nonetheless, the ETC mentions that the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic are still major factors of uncertainty.
The survey results confirm that Europeans follow a seasonal pattern with sun and beach holidays (22%) being the preferred option for the coming months. The interest in city breaks (15%) and vacations by the water or coast (15%) also remains steady. In line with these holiday preferences, the popularity of Mediterranean destinations grows: Spain is the most favoured destination among Europeans, followed by Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.
Although the survey was conducted during the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europeans’ travel sentiment has not yet been affected by the conflict. Notably, the Polish, neighbours of Ukraine, maintain a stable, above-European-average travel sentiment. The interest to travel to Eastern Europe remains similar as well.
For heritage sites and museums, the survey is a positive note after last year’s difficulties. While some noticed that domestic tourism had greatly increased, visitor numbers were much lower than before the pandemic. Especially private museums will welcome travellers with open arms, as they were struggling the most.
Despite the increasing urge to travel again, respondents are worried about quarantine measures and possible changes in travel restrictions. At the same time, Europeans with short-term travel plans recognise the importance of strict health protocols, which provide a sense of safety to 37% of them, and peace of mind to relax and enjoy their trip to another 30%.
“Our report demonstrates that European confidence in travelling is growing now that COVID-19 has largely become a fact of life. New uncertainties on the horizon, namely the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the rising cost of living, are presenting challenges for the travel sector”, summarised ETC president Luís Araújo. “However, ETC is pleased to see that in spite of these uncertainties, appetite for travel is still on the rise and the European tourism sector remains resilient.”