Laura Loss - May 20, 2024
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The ETC's latest report reveals that 75% of Europeans plan to travel between May and October 2024, which is 3% higher than last year. Safety is a critical factor in choosing destinations.

According to the ETC, 37% of respondents plan to take one trip, while 57% prepare for two or more getaways during this period. South European countries, particularly Italy and Spain, are the top choices for 43% of travelers. European air traffic has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 55% intending to fly to holiday destinations, a 5% increase from 2023.

Additionally, 28% of Europeans plan to travel by car, and 13% prefer greener options such as train or bus.

Miguel Sanz, president of the ETC, commented that it's encouraging to see Europeans maintaining their desire to travel despite current geopolitical and economic circumstances. He also noted that while popular destinations will continue to perform well this summer, there are significant opportunities for lesser-known destinations, as many travelers seek quiet and authentic experiences.

The Determination to Travel

Despite safety concerns and financial constraints, Europeans show remarkable resilience in their interest in late spring and summer travel. Enthusiasm is high across all demographic groups over 25, reaching 81% among more mature travelers (over 55). These travelers are navigating a complex landscape of geopolitical tensions, such as the Ukrainian conflict and unrest in the Middle East, as well as economic uncertainties, including inflation and rising living costs. However, their determination to travel remains strong.

This determination, combined with the desire to secure a holiday at a more favorable price, leads to booking in advance. Around 52% of European travelers (including 56% of those aged 18–24) have fully or partially booked their upcoming trips.

The most requested duration is from four to six nights, preferred by 36% of those interviewed. This is followed by seven to nine nights (26%) and more than ten nights (21%).

Budgets remained unchanged compared to a year ago, with 42% of respondents planning to spend up to 1,000 euros per person on their next trip, covering both accommodation and transport costs.

The Importance of Safety Perceptions

Amid geopolitical tensions, climate events, and economic uncertainties, prioritizing safety has become crucial for traveler decisions. The travel industry has responded to these concerns with robust safety measures.

Feeling safe is the top priority when choosing a destination (16%), followed by a pleasant climate (13%), attractive deals and offers (11%), friendly local communities (9%), and the lowest cost of living in the destination (8%).

Despite the strong desire to travel, 22% of Europeans are concerned about rising expenses, and 17% are worried about personal finances in the current economic climate. In addition, geopolitical tensions, such as the conflict in Ukraine and unrest in the Middle East, are increasing concerns, with 12% and 10%, respectively, expressing unease. Other significant sources of concern include disruptions in transportation options (10%), overcrowding (9%), and extreme weather events (8%).

Local Cuisine and Natural Beauty

European travelers are showing a strong preference for holiday destinations with scenic beauty and local cuisine. Many Europeans plan to travel within Europe in the upcoming months, with 34% planning to travel in May and June, 44% in July and August, and 17% in September and October. There is a growing interest in leisure travel, with 74% expressing a desire to indulge, which is a 5% increase compared to last year. This trend indicates a shift towards more relaxed and experiential travel, with travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the local culture and environment.

The top summer destinations this year are Italy and Spain, each capturing 8% of interest, followed by France (7%), Greece (6%), and Germany (5%). The most desired holiday type is a "sun & beach" vacation (20%), followed by city breaks (16%) towards the end of the season.

European travelers are drawn to destinations with scenic beauty (19%), opportunities to try local cuisine (17%), connecting with local communities (15%), and seeing famous landmarks (15%).

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