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Europeans upbeat about traveling despite Delta variant

Tourism

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Rising COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant might have been affecting Europe lately but travel sentiment among Europeans has remained high over the summer. Almost 70% of Europeans surveyed stated they have plans to travel between July 2021 and January 2022, while significantly fewer expressed unwillingness (17%) or uncertainty (15%) about traveling in the short-term.

According to a survey entitled "Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 8" by the European Travel Commission (ETC), Europeans are getting more comfortable with traveling as they adjust to life during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 vaccine remains an important factor in attitudes towards traveling. Recent vaccination rollouts allowed more than half (54%) of Europeans to feel much more optimistic regarding trip planning within the next months, with only 21% expressing scepticism.

Furthermore, about half of Europeans plan to book a trip as soon as they are vaccinated. At the same time, more than half (57%) of the respondents expect the EU Digital COVID Certificate to facilitate planning their next trip and crossing borders, while only 18% doubt that it will ease and simplify their travel experience.

The survey shows that interest in intra-European travel has grown to its highest level since last summer. More than half (53%) of Europeans with short-term travel plans prefer to visit another European country, with Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Croatia at the top of their destination wish list. However, the share of Europeans favoring domestic trips remains solid (35%). Travelers in the 54+ age group are more likely to travel within their own country than those in the 18-24 age range (44% vs 27%).

In recent months, the share of travelers who have booked their entire trip has increased by 31% over the previous survey, a clear sign of consumer confidence and the tourism offer returning in Europe. In addition, levels of uncertainty as to where to travel dropped by 20%. The number of respondents who refrained from planning trips fell by 20%, reaching the lowest point (16%) since September 2020.

The vaccine rollout, flexible cancellation policies, and fully lifted travel restrictions are the top factors boosting respondents’ confidence in their next trip within Europe, the research says.

However, some concerns still hamper travel planning despite higher travel intentions. Europeans with short-term travel plans remain anxious about quarantine measures (18%), rising COVID-19 cases within the destination (16%) and changes in travel restrictions during their trip (15%). When it comes to personal health and safety, the top three areas of apprehension are air travel (17%), in-destination transport (15%), and cafes and restaurants (13%).

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