Travel a priority despite economic worries, European Travel Commission survey finds

Travel a priority despite economic worries, European Travel Commission survey finds

Latest consumer research finds pent-up demand for holidays remains strong

Travel remains a priority despite 40% of Europeans being worried about increasing travel costs in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis, new data reveals. 

As many as 70% plan a trip in the next six months, a 4% increase in a year,  showing a growing appetite for travel, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC).

 More than half (52%) intend to travel at least twice, demonstrating pent-up demand for holidays.

Sentiment for intra-European travel has also been on the rise with 62% of respondents planning cross border trips within Europe this autumn and winter – the strongest sentiment recorded since autumn 2020. 

The study also shows a 6% drop since May in the number of Europeans stating that the war in Ukraine impeded their original travel plans. 

Overall, 52% of travellers said that the conflict will have no direct effect on their travel plans in the next months.

Similarly, fewer European travellers are less likely to be deterred from travelling by Covid-19. Only 5% of respondents stated that pandemic-related concerns prevented them from realising a planned trip.

But concerns related to the cost of travel are on the rise. The possible increase in travel fees now worries 23% of European travellers. An additional 17% are troubled by the effects of inflation on their personal finances.

Travel budgets have remained at the same levels since September 2021, with 32% of respondents planning to spend between €501 to €1,000 per person on their next trip, including accommodation and transportation costs. 

However, the duration of breaks is being cut as their money does not stretch as far as it used to a year ago. 

Preferences for 3-night breaks have increased to 23% from 18% in September last year, while longer trips of 7 or more nights have dropped to 37% – down 9%, suggesting that travellers are getting less value for their money than they did a year ago.

Intention to travel is lower among Gen Z (18 to 24 year-olds), with only 58% responding positively in contrast to all other age groups, which exceed a 70% likeliness to travel. 

“This indicates a more hesitant outlook for younger travellers, which may also be attributed to concerns about personal finances and rising travel costs,” the ETC said.

However, Europeans over 45 years old plan to travel the most in the next six months (over 73%), expressing an interest in city break journeys and a need to become part of the destination by exploring its culture and history. 

France is the most popular country to visit over the next six months (11%), followed by Spain and Italy (both 9%). 

ETC president Luis Araujo said: “The tireless efforts of the European travel sector to build back stronger are beginning to bear fruit. 

“While the cost-of-living crisis is another undeniable challenge for tourism in Europe, ETC is heartened to see that travel remains priority for Europeans in the coming months. 

“Now it is of the utmost importance for Europe to ensure a more resilient industry, supporting the digital and environmental transition and putting people at the centre of development.”