A new study by Accor, a world leading hospitality group, reveals Greece as the third most desirable European destination in 2022 for people surveyed in five key tourism markets, namely the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Russia.
The research forms part of an in-depth Northern Europe Travel Trends Report published by Accor, examining how changes in behaviour post-Covid will change the way people travel, live, work and play in 2022 and beyond.
The study questioned 6,000 people across the aforementioned five countries about their travel preferences and desires. Despite recent setbacks with the Delta and Omicron variants, more than 80 percent plan to travel in 2022.
Just over half (55 percent) of those surveyed want to stay in Europe in 2022. The three most desirable destinations within Europe are Italy (36 percent), Spain (30 percent) and Greece (28 percent), all of them offering an enticing combination of shorter flight times, warm climate, coastlines, family-friendly food, fashion and culture.
Of those willing to explore beyond the continent, 13 percent are planning trips to North America and 11 percent to Southeast Asia.
Optimism for 2022 as travel returns
The Accor study also reveals optimism about the return of travel in 2022. According to its findings, 30 percent of people are actively planning and booking trips for the first half of the year; 50 percent for the second half of the year while nearly one in five (17 percent) are booking trips for 2023 already.
Travelers also intend to spend an average of 39 percent more on travel in 2022 than they did in 2019 and take an average of four trips this year.
Meanwhile, the desire for fly and flop has been heightened as beach holidays top the wish list for travel in 2022 with 33 percent of respondents planning sun and sand getaways.
City breaks (26 percent) are expected to come back as the call of cosmopolitan culture returns.
The study also highlights the following key trends:
– At the end of 2021 just 14 percent of travelers were planning staycations and at the start of 2022 that number has doubled to 28 percent. Overall 25 percent of respondents are more likely to staycation as a result of Omicron.
– After two challenging years, 14 percent of Europeans are planning all-out luxury, the trip of a lifetime to make up for all the lost travel in the pandemic years.
– Booking flexibility and high sanitary standards top the list of what Europeans expect as a “must have” in 2022 and beyond: 31 percent want clearer health and safety standards and 1 in 5 (19 percent) would be willing to pay more for a hotel room if it had a recognised cleanliness initiative award, such as Accor’s global ALLSAFE health and sanitary label.
Thirty percent seek more flexibility on changes to bookings.
– Technology will also play a significant role in offering a more contact-light travel experience, with 23 percent of European travellers expecting more contactless payment options and 17 percent wanting an increase in hotel technology, from WhatsApp customer service to improvements in hotel room TVs.
– Sustainability and the impact of the trip on the climate and planet is now a factor for 87 percent of people.
– Mindful travel is set to be a major trend in 2022. After two years of restrictions, the adage of “a change is as good as a rest” has never been truer. Sixty seven percent agree that “being somewhere different enables them to clear their heads and restore some order in their lives”.