Europeans are becoming increasingly positive about travelling over the next few months, with top Mediterranean resort areas such as Murcia’s Costa Cálida topping the wish-list of their favoured destinations. At least that is the conclusion of the latest research by the European Travel Commission (ETC).
According to the ETC’s “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 9” survey:
- Two in three Europeans plan to travel through March 2022, “building on the confidence restored over the summer”.
- Intra-European trips have overtaken domestic tourism: 55 per cent of short-term travellers prefer to visit another European country.
- Air travel is on the rise, with over 50 per cent of respondents stating they feel comfortable flying again.
The survey was conducted in September, among respondents from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Overall, Mediterranean destinations ranked highest on travellers’ destination wish list, led by Spain (just over nine per cent), followed by Italy, France and Greece.
“Intra-European getaways are now at the forefront, indicating enhanced comfort to travel internationally: more than one in two Europeans with short-term travel plans will head to other European countries, a 41 per cent surge since September 2020. Meanwhile, preferences for domestic trips (32 per cent) decreased by 18 per cent over the past 12 months.”
The ETC found that travellers are more open to short-term trips. “These results indicate that an increasing number of Europeans are no longer in a ‘waiting mode’ to travel and feel much more confident to embark on spontaneous trips.
“As travel sentiment continues to improve and pandemic restrictions become the new normal, ‘travel-ready’ Europeans (i.e. respondents who were planning to travel over the next six months) are more determined to adhere to their travel plans (up 39 per cent over the previous survey), rather than wait or postpone.”
The respondents also indicated a growing preference for air travel, even though their health and safety concerns remain strong.
“Despite a lingering hesitancy towards air travel, over 50 per cent of ‘travel-ready’ Europeans are now eager to switch to air transport (a 13 per cent increase over the previous survey). This is another sign of improved consumer confidence towards using commercial flights to optimise travel times.”
Understandably, COVID-19 protocols at the destination remain key to travellers’ plans. “Despite their increased eagerness to travel in the next six months, 63 per cent of ‘early bird’ travellers still rely on health and safety protocols at the destination as it makes them feel more comfortable and likely to enjoy their trip.
“Destinations and tourism businesses should reassure travellers through effective COVID-19 measures, particularly in relation to the areas of most concern: air travel, in-destination transportation and local attractions.”
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Spain is currently the safest EU destination for travel.