European travel sentiment continues to rise, with 54% of respondents to a recent survey indicating that they’re planning to travel within the next six months — either domestically or to another European country.
The European Travel Commission’s (ETC) latest report — Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 5 – provides up-to-date information on the impact of COVID-19 on Europeans’ travel plans and preferences regarding types of destinations and experiences, holiday periods and anxieties related to travel in the coming months. The report features data collected in January 2021.
Following the introduction of stricter travel rules across Europe, the possibility of getting quarantined and the rising COVID-19 cases at destinations are now of equal concern (15%) to Europeans wishing to travel.
Meanwhile, the majority of respondents (69%) shared that they will feel safer and more relaxed if destinations have strict health and safety protocols in place, while only 21% of respondents claim that the protocols may to some extend spoil the travel experience.
At the same time, the COVID-19 vaccines remain the top driver for resuming travel, bringing hope that a mass rollout across Europe will contribute towards tourism recovery. 11% of Europeans indicated that the effective COVID-19 vaccines campaign would play a significant role in their decision to hit the road again, followed by destinations’ effectiveness in managing the health crisis (11%) and COVID-19 testing prior to departure (10%).
Europeans’ interest in sun & beach vacations expands with the warmer months slowly approaching. According to the survey results, over third of Europeans (34%) are optimistic about taking their next trip between May-July 2021. Travellers from the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are most enthusiastic about planning a coastal getaway.
Europeans are also most eager now to cross borders with 41% of respondents wishing to travel to another European country, the highest figure since the survey began. In comparison, 35% still prefer to travel domestically.
There was more good news in the ETC’s report as it found that confidence in air travel continues to gradually improve and also supports hope for the recovery of intra-European travel.
The share of Europeans planning to take a plane has progressively increased from 49% in September 2020 to 54% in January 2021, while the percentage of those having health concerns about flying has fallen from 20% to 16%.