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A European love affair: 89% of luxury bookings are for Europe this summer, expert reveals

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Croatia top on the list as the most popular European destination this summer. The Balkan vacation destination is closely followed by Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France rounding up the top five.

Despite recent chaos in airports around the world, recent figures reveal that travelers are still opting for last-minute European vacations over other destinations when booking luxury getaways this year. 

Data from high-end travel specialists, Unforgettable Travel, highlights that 89% of all bookings made so far in 2022 were for departures this year, with only 11% being for 2023 or beyond. 

With this summer set to be the first without travel restrictions since 2019, these figures indicate that travelers are keen to start exploring the world again as soon as possible.

The figures also reveal that, of the bookings placed for this year, most are opting for a European love affair, with other luxury vacations being booked instead for 2023. 

Specialists in luxury vacations worldwide, Unforgettable Travel reveals that the most booked European destination for this summer is Croatia, with the country having dropped all of its restrictions as of 3rd May. 

The Balkan vacation destination is closely followed by Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France rounding up the top five.

And, underlining just how popular luxury European vacations are proving to be this summer, also in the top 10 are Turkey, Spain and Portugal respectively.

The company predicts that these last-minute bookings are a result of people still approaching travel with caution. This could be due to people preferring to monitor the situation before booking vacations further in advance, particularly given the recency of the pandemic and the easing of restrictions. 

Whilst other vacation destinations outside of Europe are still being booked for 2022 departures, these are for later on in the year or for 2023, with the most popular exotic destinations being Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. 

The company also reports that, after two years of restrictions, more people are booking authentic experiences. 

Luke Harvey, Head of Marketing at the Unforgettable Travel Company, said: “We’ve found that a lot of our clients are pre-booking authentic experiences for their vacations, like cooking classes where they can learn about local cuisine in native rather than commercial kitchens. People are also coinciding their bookings with local events and celebrations, such as lantern festivals, so that they can really immerse themselves in a destination.” 

This trend of searching for authentic and meaningful experiences suggests that the pandemic has given people a new perspective on travel, enticing them to fully immerse themselves in local culture.

Despite travel being almost back to ‘normal’, this data from Unforgettable Travel suggests that vacationers are still wary of the changing nature of COVID-19 and are booking their vacations in line with this.

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