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European Travel Commission research finds interest in travel rising

As a result of the increase in vaccinations, the introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate and the upcoming summer season, interest in travel has risen significantly compared to February 2021.

European Travel Commission research finds interest in travel rising

As Europe opens up after months of lockdowns and restrictions, interest in travel has risen distinctly, with two-thirds of Europeans intending to take a trip by the end of November 2021. Only 15 per cent remain uncertain, and 15 per cent are not willing to travel. This is according to the latest research on “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 7” by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which provides timely insights on the short-term travel intentions and preferences of Europeans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The quick progression of COVID-19 vaccinations in Europe coupled with the recent introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate and the upcoming summer season are boosting Europeans’ travel spirit. In total, 70 per cent of respondents are already making travel plans for the next six months, which is up from 56 per cent in February 2021 and also at the highest point since August 2020.

Over half (57 per cent) of Europeans feel much more optimistic about planning trips in the coming months thanks to vaccination rollouts, while 25 per cent are neutral and 18 per cent remain unconvinced. Notably, in many cases, inoculation has a direct impact on travel arrangements, with 54 per cent intending to book a trip once they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Similarly, the recent European Union (EU) actions to coordinate rules and revitalise travel are already showing positive results. The introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate has received a wide acceptance among Europeans: 57 per cent of respondents feel that the certificate will facilitate the planning of their next trip, while only 18 per cent express the opposite opinion.

Europeans eager to travel soon are most enthused about summer journeys: 31 per cent plan to travel during June and July 2021, and 41 per cent during August and September 2021, while the other 16 per cent intend to take a trip in autumn. The survey also shows a significant rise in the interest for outbound travel; half of the respondents wish to visit another European country (51 per cent), while 36 per cent favour domestic trips to enjoy their own countries’ attractions. Europeans travelling abroad this summer prefer Southern destinations, such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal for their next trip.

As for the planning status of these trips, 42 per cent of ‘early-bird’ travellers have made some or all of their bookings for their next getaway; 40 per cent have chosen a destination but not yet made any bookings; and 19 per cent are still deciding where to go.

While travel sentiment continues to improve, 19 per cent of the surveyed ‘early-bird’ travellers express major concern about unexpected quarantine measures during their trips. This once again proves that clear and coherent travel rules are essential to boost travel confidence across Europe.

Air travel remains the most worrisome part of the journey for 18 per cent of all respondents for health and safety reasons. Although it is still the most preferred option among Europeans with short-term travel plans, the appeal of air travel (47 per cent) has decreased by 11 per cent since February 2021, whereas the preference for travelling by car (39 per cent) has increased by 23 per cent over the same period.

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