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Europeans embrace intra-European travel in spite of growing cost-of-living concerns

Europeans embrace intra-European travel in spite of growing cost-of-living concerns
  • Interest in intra-European travel reaches its highest point (62%) since September 2020
  • More Europeans (40%) anxious about rising travel costs amidst global economic crisis

40% of Europeans are worried about increasing travel costs in light of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Nonetheless, the appetite for travel among Europeans is growing with 70% planning a trip in the next six months. This represents a 4% increase in just one year. Over half (52%) intend to travel at least twice evidencing pent-up demand for vacationing.

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 for intra-European travel recorded since autumn 2020. This is according to the Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 13 by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which provides insights into Europeans’ short-term travel intentions and preferences[1].

Commenting on the research, Luís Araújo, President of ETC, stated: “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 a 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.”

Impact of Covid-19 and war in Ukraine on European travel sentiment lessens

The results of Wave 13 revealed a 6% drop since May 2022 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.

Travellers getting less bang for their buck 

In contrast, 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 €1000 per person on their next trip (including accommodation and transportation costs). However, Europeans are cutting the duration of their vacations 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 2021), while longer trips of 7 or more nights have dropped to 37% (-9% since September 2021), suggesting that travellers are getting less value for their money than they did in September 2021.

Regarding spending by country (per person on a single trip), Germans (57%) and Austrians (66%) will mostly spend between €501 and €1000, while the Polish (21%), the Dutch (20%), and the Swiss (19%) are more likely to expend over €2000.

Gen Z less likely to travel than older generations

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.

In contrast, 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.

Across all age groups, France is the most popular country to visit over the next six months (11%), followed by Spain and Italy (both 9%). As the weather gets colder, more respondents look to travel to winter destinations such as Germany (7%). Croatia (5%) and Greece (6%) also remain popular among respondents.

This project is co-funded by the European Union.

Full summary can be downloaded here

[1] Wave 13 features data collected in September 2022. The survey is conducted in: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, and Austria