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Europeans travel sentiment in winter season expires | Survey

NEWS RELEASE – 17 December 2020: Europeans' travel sentiment weakened by a spike in COVID-19 and the implementation of lockdown measures across Europe. That is according to the latest monthly report of the European Travel Commission (ETC). The entire survey report is here download.

Monthly Survey

  • 49% of respondents said they plan to travel before mid-2021, while uncertainty about the exact timing of their travel is increasing.
  • Regardless of the upcoming winter season, only 17% of surveyed Europeans plan to travel by the end of January 2021.

These monthly reports provide up-to-date information on the impact of COVID-19 on Europeans' travel plans. Preferences and concerns about destinations, holiday periods and fears regarding travel in the coming months also emerge.

Also read: Dutch government cancels all holiday flights | Code orange

COVID-19 peak causes drop in travel plans

In general, a clear trend is visible: The COVID-19 peak is causing a significant decrease in travel sentiment and travel plans among Europeans.

The proportion of Europeans planning to travel in the next six months falls from 54% in October reporting to 49% in November. Uncertainty about the exact timing of the next trip has increased by 13% in the past month. The latest survey also shows a growth in the proportion of Europeans not making travel plans, which currently stands at 18%.

Fewer than 1 in 5 Europeans surveyed have expressed an intention to travel during the upcoming winter holidays (by the end of January 2021). This represents a sharp drop of 21% compared to the previous survey, which shows that the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and uncertainty about travel measures are forcing Europeans to suspend their travel plans.

Fear of quarantine measures

Quarantine measures remain the top concern for 15% of respondents, followed by fear of getting sick at the destination and increasing COVID-19 cases (both by 13%). The results also confirm that health and safety remain the main consideration in Europeans' travel plans. This has proven to be especially important for respondents older than 55 years.

Air travel and public transport at destination are still considered the least safe parts of a journey, according to 19% and 14% of the respondents respectively. Bars and restaurants are also a growing concern, according to 11% of Europeans who completed the survey.

Preference for holidays within Europe

Travel within Europe is the best choice, with an equal percentage of respondents (38%) preferring domestic and intra-European travel. Leisure activity is the primary goal for nearly 63% of respondents surveyed who plan to travel on a short-term basis, while visiting friends and relatives is the primary goal for a further 22% of them. Business trips account for 9% of respondents.

Despite the impact of the pandemic on urban areas, city ​​trips still the most favored type of travel among 19% of Europeans. Other important preferences are holidays in the nature (15%) and travel with a focus on culture and heritage (14%). When it comes to transportation, 51% of surveyed travelers plan to fly to their next destination, while another large 37% prefer to travel by car.

Source: European Travel Commission

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