To better understand and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on overseas travel, the European Travel Commission (ETC), the European Tourism Association (ETOA), Eurail B.V. and the European Commission continue to monitor the shifts and trends in travel sentiment in Europe’s key overseas source markets – Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and the U.S.
Results of the latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) indicate that confidence for travel to Europe in summer 2020 is weak across all six markets monitored. What is significant, however, is that after more than two months of confinement, citizens in some of the markets are finally starting to dream of resuming travel. Whether their plans will become a reality will ultimately depend on the development of the COVID-19 outbreak over the coming months, and the travel restrictions in place.
What impacts travel decisions amid the COVID-19 crisis?
While safety and security concerns remain one of the top priorities for travellers when selecting holiday destinations in Europe, there was an expected shift in what matters for tourists when making decisions about which places to visit in the post-COVID 19 world. Visiting destinations that are less-crowded and affordable has overtaken the presence of world-famous attractions, which was traditionally the main driver of destination-choice.
As for particular destinations in Europe, the spread of COVID-19 and the negative media coverage which goes with it, has inevitably led to decrease in potential travellers‘ intentions to visit some of the most attractive European destinations, among which are France, Spain, Italy and Germany. It is important to note, however, that despite this downward trend, these destinations are still leading the ranking of “must travel to” European countries for all respondents.
In terms of experiences, learning about Europe’s rich cultural and historical heritage, enjoying the natural diversity and landscapes, tasting the unique gastronomic offerings and immersing into the European city-life, continue to be at the front-of-mind for overseas travellers hoping to visit the region in summer.
This project is co-funded by the European Union.
 In all markets, the survey monitors respondents’ intention to travel outside the region of residence (e.g. North America for the USA). The only exception is the Russian Federation, where intention to travel outside the Commonwealth of Independent States is measured.
 Intention to travel is measured in an index that reflects the dominant sentiment expressed by a market, either a positive or negative one. The index is tied to a base of 100. Values above 100 indicate a positive evolution, whereas values below 100 indicate negative attitudes towards travel in a given time period.