As the EU looks set to open its borders to more countries and vaccinated holidaymakers this summer, coordinated rules on international travel will be crucial to instil confidence in tourists considering a visit to the region, the European Travel Commission (ETC) said this week.
According to the ETC’s latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer 2/2021 (LHTB), even after a year of strict coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions, travellers from five overseas markets – Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the United States – are still hopeful to travel but are also cautious to consider Europe as a destination due to the “continuous lack of harmonised rules on travel” across the region.
The ETC underlines that over the coming months, unity and consistency of safety measures will be of key importance if European destinations are to capitalise on recent positive developments.
According to the LHTB, the sentiment index for overseas travel in the US and Russia remains positive, however, only 2 in 5 respondents from these markets are optimistic about visiting Europe in summer 2021.
“This is a warning sign for Europe and may lead to the region losing out to domestic and short-haul destinations due to their geographical proximity and openness to travellers from either the US or Russia,” the ETC said.
Brazilian respondents demonstrated optimism about travelling overseas between May-August 2021, however, the sentiment for travelling to Europe is much lower.
Results from the Chinese market disclose eagerness for overseas travel to resume with 53 percent of respondents enthusiastic to travel abroad. Their understanding of current travel restrictions in Europe, however, reveals that only 26 percent were confident that they will travel to the region if permitted.
Across all analysed markets, the sentiment index score for long-haul trips is the weakest in Japan, where less than 1 in 5 respondents are considering travel to a destination outside East Asia between May-August.
“Our research shows that a lack of clarity, coupled with a disjointed and uncoordinated approach, means that travellers are hesitant to consider Europe as a destination right now,” ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander said.
Moreover, while respondents wishing to visit Europe in summer 2021 remain uncertain about the exact timing of their trip due to travel bans and fragmented processes across destinations, LHTB results reveal that July and August are the most desired months for holidays to Europe, with 31 percent of Brazilian, 26 percent of US, 25 percent of Chinese and 22 percent of Russians hoping to visit Europe in August.
“With progressing vaccination campaigns across the world, we have high expectations for the late summer and strong autumn season. The right investment in travel promotion and in boosting tourism confidence will play a significant role in salvaging this summer and beyond,” Santander added.