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Europeans’ travel sentiment skyrockets in view of vaccine rollouts and introduction of EU Digital COVID Certificate

Europeans’ travel sentiment skyrockets in view of vaccine rollouts and introduction of EU Digital COVID Certificate
  • 70% of respondents have travel plans in the next six months, with half wishing to visit another European country
  • The majority of Europeans surveyed (72%) intend to travel between June and September, while another 16% are eyeing autumn travel
  • Quarantine requirements and sudden changes of rules remain major concerns for Europeans

As Europe opens up after months of lockdowns and restrictions, interest in travel has risen distinctly, with two-thirds of Europeans intending to take a trip by the end of November 2021. Only 15% remain uncertain, and 15% are not willing to travel. This is according to the latest research on “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 7[1] by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which provides timely insights on the short-term travel intentions and preferences of Europeans[2] during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summer in sight, vaccinations, and EU COVID certificates boost intention to travel

The speedy progression of COVID-19 vaccinations in Europe coupled with the recent introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate and the upcoming summer season are boosting Europeans’ travel spirit. 70% of respondents are already making travel plans for the next six months, up from 56% in February 2021 and also at the highest point since August 2020.

Over half (57%) of Europeans feel much more optimistic about planning trips in the coming months thanks to vaccination rollouts, while 25% are neutral and 18% remain unconvinced. Notably, in many cases, inoculation has a direct impact on travel arrangements, with 54% intending to book a trip once they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Similarly, the recent EU actions to coordinate rules and revitalise travel across the bloc are already showing positive results. The introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate has received a wide acceptance among Europeans: 57% of respondents feel that the certificate will facilitate the planning of their next trip, while only 18% express the opposite opinion.

Travel within Europe at the forefront

Europeans eager to travel soon are most enthused about summer journeys: 31% plan to travel during June and July and 41% during August and September, while the other 16% intend to take a trip in autumn. The survey also shows a significant rise in the interest for outbound travel; half of the respondents wish to visit another European country (51%), while 36% favour domestic trips to enjoy their own countries’ attractions. Europeans travelling abroad this summer prefer Southern destinations, such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Portugal for their next trip.

As for the planning status of these trips, 42% of “early-bird” travellers[3] have made some or all of their bookings for their next getaway, 40% have chosen a destination but not yet made any bookings, and 19% are still deciding where to go.

Europeans eager to travel yet still concerned about flights and quarantine measures

While travel sentiment continues to improve, 19% of surveyed “early-bird” travellers express major concern about unexpected quarantine measures during their trips. This once again proves that clear and coherent travel rules are essential to boost travel confidence across Europe.

Air travel remains the most worrisome part of the journey for 18% of all respondents for health and safety reasons. Although it is still the most preferred option among Europeans with short-term travel plans, the appeal of air travel (47%) has decreased by 11% since February 2021, whereas the preference for travelling by car (39%) has increased by 23% over the same period.

Full summary can be downloaded here

An infographic summarising key results from Wave 7 can be downloaded here

This project is co-funded by the European Union.

[1] The wave features data collected in May 2021

[2] Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, and Austria

[3] “Early-bird” travellers refers to survey respondents who are most likely to travel in the next 6 months/have short-term travel plans