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Over Three in Four Europeans Plan to Travel this Spring and Summer

Despite the uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the desire across Europe for intra-European travel is undoubtedly strong.

Three in four Europeans intend to take a trip in the next six months, with Mediterranean destinations having the highest appeal. This is according to the latest research on Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 11 by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which provides insights on Europeans' short-term travel intentions and preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic1.

With summer approaching, an increasing share of Europeans (77 percent) are eager to travel between April and September this year. Over half (56 percent) of them plan to visit another European country, while 31 percent choose domestic travel. Across all analysed markets, respondents from Italy, Spain, Poland, the UK, and Germany demonstrate the strongest optimism about taking a trip (>80 percent). Travel intentions increase with age, rising from 69 percent among Gen Z (18-24 years old) to 83 percent among baby boomers (over 54 years old).

The survey results confirm that Europeans' travel plans follow a seasonal pattern with sun and beach holidays (22 percent) being the preferred option for the coming months. The interest in city breaks (15 percent) and vacations by the water or coast (15 percent) also remains steady. In line with these holiday preferences, the popularity of Mediterranean destinations grows: Spain is the most favoured destination among Europeans travelling abroad between April-September, followed by Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.

As summer approaches, most Europeans with travel plans intend to take a 4-6-night (33 percent) or 7-9-night (27 percent) vacation. Only 25 percent will opt for trips of 10 nights or longer, mostly family travellers. On the other hand, couples strongly prefer micro-trips (up to three nights). No matter the length of the trip, one in two travellers will take a flight to reach their next destination.

Although the survey was conducted during the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europeans' travel sentiment and behaviour have not yet been affected by the conflict. Notably, the Polish, who neighbour Ukraine, maintain a stable, above-European-average travel sentiment; their planned length of stay and budgets remains consistent with data collected at the same time last year. Furthermore, interest in Eastern European destinations is unaltered, reflecting the limited impact of the ongoing conflict on intra-European travel to date.

A rising share of European travellers are planning to spend EUR500-EUR1,500 (now 51 percent, +8 percent compared to the previous survey) with a respective drop in higher budgets (-8 percent for more than EUR2,000), potentially due to the growing concerns over inflation. At the same time, even though there is more certainty as to when and where the next trip will be, only 25 percent of travel-ready Europeans have fully booked, indicating a limited level of financial commitment. The European travel sector must ensure it is targeting last-minute holidaymakers this summer.