The ongoing crises impacting international travel and tourism are affecting the decisions of travelers who are eager to take trips but remain cautious, opting for last-minute bookings, travel experts said during a conference held in Athens on Wednesday.
Titled “Re-ally tourism – The Hellenic and European travel agents initiative”, the event was organized by the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA) following its annual general assembly earlier this week.
During the event, European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) President Pawel Niewiadomski cited four major crises affecting tourism globally:
– the ongoing climate change
– the economic crisis which is further fueled by the energy crisis
– the Russia-Ukraine war, and
– the Covid-19 pandemic.
As he said, these factors dominate the decision-making process of travelers worldwide also affecting tourism recovery.
People still reluctant to travel
According to World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) President Lars Thykier, people are eager to travel but remain reluctant.
“Some destinations still remain closed to visitors from abroad while others are just opening,” he said during the HATTA event.
As a result today’s travelers tend to:
– choose destinations closer to home
– book at the last minute
– look for more sustainable (environmentally responsible) options.
Meanwhile, according to Thykier, niche travel seems to be on the rise with consumers opting for travel packages that include activities such as biking and hiking.
Europeans choose Europe
Looking ahead, Thykier expects tourism numbers in Europe to reach 70-75 percent of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
He also expects Europeans to travel within Europe and especially to Mediterranean countries and western Europe.
Those who are adventurous, will travel beyond Europe but mainly to destinations closer to home like Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. If they choose to go overseas they will probably travel to Canada, the US, Central and South America.
Greece 2nd preferred destination for Polish travelers
Meanwhile, Pawel Niewiadomski, who is also president of the Polish Chamber of Tourism (PIT), expects Greece to be the second most preferred destination for Polish travelers this year, with Turkey in first place.
The same applies for the French market, with travelers placing Greece in second place for holiday trips in 2022, as predicted by Jurgen Bachmann, secretary general of SETO – the French Tour Operators Association.
Participants of the HATTA conference also included ECTAA Secretary General Eric Dresin; Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development Olympia Anastasopoulou, and Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis.