Survey Shows Europeans Optimistic About Travel

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Europeans are optimistic about traveling in the short term, with a majority planning to visit another European country in the April-September period, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC).

ETC, which represents national tourism organizations, issued a new paper detailing survey results showing Europeans are making travel plans.

“Despite the uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the desire across Europe for intra-European travel is undoubtedly strong,” ETC said in a statement. “Three in four Europeans intend to take a trip in the next six months, with Mediterranean destinations having the highest appeal.”

According to ETC, 77% of Europeans say they will travel between April and September 2022. Some 56% plan to travel to another European country. About 50% of those planning trips said they will fly to reach their destination.

Residents in Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK “demonstrate the strongest optimism about traveling,” with more than 80% of respondents in those countries planning trips, according to ETC. “Travel intentions increase with age, rising from 69% among Gen Z (18-24 years old) to 83% among baby boomers (over 54 years old).”

ETC said the survey results “confirm that Europeans' travel plans follow a seasonal pattern with sun and beach holidays … being the preferred option for the coming months.” A 22% plurality of survey respondents said they were planning a trip to a sun destination.

ETC noted: “Spain is the most favored destination among Europeans traveling abroad between April-September 2022, followed by Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.”

The organization said Europeans' travel plans have “not yet been affected” by the war in Ukraine. “Notably, the Polish, who neighbor Ukraine, maintain a stable, above-European-average travel sentiment; their planned length of stay and budgets remains consistent with data collected at the same time last year,” ETC stated. “Furthermore, interest in Eastern European destinations is unaltered, reflecting the limited impact of the ongoing conflict on intra-European travel to date.”

Respondents did express the sentiment that COVID-19 “remains a source of concern when traveling,” ETC said, noting 17% of “travel-ready Europeans are worried about quarantine measures and another 15% about possible changes in travel restrictions.”

ETC added: “Europeans with short-term travel plans acknowledge 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%.”

ETC CEO Luís Araújo said: “Our report demonstrates that European confidence in traveling 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. 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."

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.