Despite a sluggish start to the vaccine rollout across Europe, travellers’ confidence continues to take an upturn, raising hopes for a faster recovery, the European Travel Commission (ETC) said on Tuesday.
According to its latest report “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 6”, 48 percent of Europeans share a sense of optimism about trip planning, driven by the development and approval of Covid-19 vaccines.
The survey showed that only 21 percent are not optimistic about planning a trip, regardless of vaccinations.
The ETC’s monthly report provides up-to-date insights on the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on Europeans’ travel plans and preferences regarding types of destinations and experiences, holiday periods and anxieties related to travel in the coming months.
Responses were collected in February from European citizens from 10 high-volume source markets (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Austria) in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
56% of Europeans feeling positive about taking summer holidays
Overall, the ETC’s report found that the hope of summer getaways is encouraging travel sentiment in Europeans, as a majority – 56 percent – say they will go on holiday by the end of August 2021, either domestically or to another European country. By comparison, only 27 percent of respondents are still unwilling to travel within the next six months.
Preferred countries for next European trip
In terms of the top 5 destinations of choice for intra-Europe travel, Spain remains in the lead with 10.4 percent, followed by Italy (9 percent), France (7 percent), Greece (6.2 percent) and Germany (5.2 percent).
Among European early-bird travellers, 9 out of 10 already have specific timings for their vacations, eyeing mostly July and August (46 percent). Another 29 percent state that they intend to take their next trip even sooner, in May or June. Of them, 49 percent are willing to travel to another European country, while 36 percent opt for staycations.
Concerns rise about being able to make the most out of holidays
However, as Europeans are starting to consider a summer getaway, the spotlight falls on whether upcoming holidays can be enjoyed to the fullest.
While quarantine measures are still the leading concern for 16 percent of early-bird travellers, the limited scope for holiday activities at the destination due to Covid-19 restrictions is becoming a “significant pain point” (11 percent).
In addition, there is now a heightened sense of caution about visiting bars and restaurants to experience the culinary offering at a destination. Thirteen percent of respondents feel that such establishments pose a degree of risk to their health.
“Meanwhile, air travel still tops the virus risk list, with 17 percent of Europeans identifying flying as potentially dangerous,” the ETC said.
Poles and Italians most positive about summer travel
Moreover, the survey found that although summer holidays are on the wish list for the majority of surveyed Europeans, countries vary in their degree of enthusiasm. Poles (79 percent) and Italians (64 percent) champion the trend to plan a getaway before the end of August, followed by Austrian (57 percent), German and Dutch (both 56 percent) residents.
The European Travel Commission is an association of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs). It was created in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourist destination to the long-haul markets outside of Europe, originally in the USA and later in Canada, Latin America and Asia. It currently has 32 member NTOs, including 7 from outside the European Union.