A majority of 57% of Europeans expect to travel this summer – France and Italy lead with 67% expecting to take their usual summer holiday.
Europ Assistance (“EA”) today announced the international findings of their 20th Anniversary edition of the Holiday Barometer. The survey was conducted by Ipsos, a global market research firm, among 14,000 people across 14 countries and three continents.
It tracks global travel trends and this 2021 edition features questions about the impact of the pandemic on several areas including attitudes toward travel. The survey was taken between May 5th and May 20th of this year.
Francine Abgrall, Group Head of Travel at Europ Assistance commented: “We have been sponsoring the Ipsos Holiday Barometer for two decades and we think this is the most important one we have commissioned. As we see the impact of the pandemic lingering into a second summer travel season, there is room for optimism.
“Several European countries are expecting increases in summer travel over 2019 numbers. Almost 70% of Europeans see travel returning to normal over the next three years. This year’s Holiday Barometer shows that people are excited to see and hug their families again (58%) and get back to simple activities like eating in a restaurant (40%).”
Overall, 57% of Europeans expect to travel during the usual summer holiday period, this is a six percent drop from 2019. Even with the drop, more Europeans expect to travel than Americans (50%), Chinese (53%) or Thais (44%).
Some countries are seeing double-digit drops in summer travel plans, such as Germany (-21 points), United Kingdom (-14 points) and Belgium (-12 points). Other European countries are seeing a rise in travel desire including Italy (+6 points) and Poland (+5 points).
Europeans report their travel budgets have taken a bigger hit than their American counterparts. Overall European travel budgets dropped over 20% from 2019, but American budgets only dropped 2%.
The biggest drops were seen in Spain (-30%), France (-26%), Germany (-25%) and Austria (-21%). Portugal was the only country from the 2019 survey in which travel budgets stayed the same.
The British, Belgians and Americans lead the world in travel optimism with most of them seeing travel returning to normal in 2022 or 2023. The Czechs, Poles and French lead the survey when it comes to those who think travel will never return to normal.
Europeans are still heading to the seaside – topping all areas with 58% of respondents. Trips to the countryside (26%) and the mountains (24%) each gained four points from 2019 and are closing the gap.
Europeans continue to favor spending their holidays within their home country (47%). For those traveling outside of their country, the top destinations are Spain, France and Italy, which historically have been the top three survey leaders.
While they may lead the survey in the desire to travel, Europeans trail the pack when it comes to actually booking holiday travel.
Only 35% of European respondents booked any part of their summer travel, compared with 47% of Americans, 37% of Chinese and 50% of Thai respondents.
The Italians have the lowest figures when it comes to booking holiday travel with just 23% taking the plunge whereas UK residents lead in Europe at 56%.