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Thrilled about travel restart: Europeans are eager to welcome back tourists and support host communities while travelling

Thrilled about travel restart: Europeans are eager to welcome back tourists and support host communities while travelling

The European Travel Commission (ETC) and MINDHAUS have released the report “Europeans’ attitudes towards responsible travel choices”, which examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Europeans’ travel choices. The report reveals the opinion of travellers regarding the importance of sustainability for their travel experiences, seasonal and destination preferences, travel frequency, eagerness to welcome tourists and more related insights. Data in the report was obtained between August 2020 and February 2021.

More off-peak travel, fewer trips and lengthier stays

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the travel preferences of Europeans who now demonstrate a strong desire to embark on fewer but lengthier trips at a single destination (58%), a trend especially evident among Polish (69%), Spanish (68%) and Dutch (64%) travellers. Simultaneously, the survey results reveal that 44% of Europeans are interested in off-season travel, while 32% are willing to pay extra for “far from the crowd” experiences.

Paying extra to reduce carbon footprint divides Europeans

Despite the rising awareness of the importance of sustainability the proportion of respondents willing to pay more to offset the carbon footprint of their trips is just 30%, while a slightly higher number of 32% reject this option. At the same time, 1 in 2 respondents says that now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is better to use single-use packaging for food and personal care products while travelling, as opposed to 19% who are committed to reusables. Collective actions at a regional and country level will be necessary to ensure this trend is reversed in the post-pandemic environment.

Europeans eager to support local communities post-COVID

On a positive note, results indicate that Europeans are excited about the restart of tourism. 41% of respondents shared enthusiasm for welcoming more tourists to their community or destination, with figures at a country level being the highest among Italians (63%), Spanish (55%) and Poles (54%). Moreover, Europeans recognise the economic and social importance of tourism, with 36% prepared to go the extra expense for services and products that support host communities.

This project is co-funded by the European Union.

Full report can be downloaded here