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Brits are not deterred by the rising cost of living when it comes to vacations, according to new MMGY global research

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UK and French travelers plan to take the highest number of vacations in 2023, with the UK planning to spend more than $4,908 per year on international travel.

LONDON – While the cost of living may be squeezing many households, travel appears to be the last item for people to do without, with U.K. travelers planning 2.5 international trips on average over the next 12 months and expecting to spend over $4,908 in total for international vacations, according to new research by MMGY Travel Intelligence

This week, the company released the findings of its first-ever Portrait of European Travellers study. Examining data from more than 4,000 respondents, the comprehensive survey found that European travelers are determined to keep traveling, intending to take an average of 2.3 international vacations in 2023 and spend an average of $3,975 – up 1% from the reported pre-pandemic average annual spend. 

In terms of destinations, Europe is the most popular choice for travel over the next three years, followed by the U.S., the Caribbean and Canada. 

This brand-new survey delves deep into pertinent topics to uncover key insights into travel intentions, preferences, priorities and habits of the European market. The respondents were selected equally from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and had to have an intention to travel internationally within the next 12 months. It follows MMGY Travel Intelligence's September launch of its annual Portrait of American International Travelers™ study, which is considered the gold standard in the U.S. for tracking the travel intentions, preferences, priorities and habits of American international travelers. 

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our study demonstrates that there is clearly a strong appetite to get out and see the world, and people are hungry to spend their money on this simple pleasure and are not willing to do without it,” says MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe Managing Director Cees Bosselaar. “This is not to say people aren’t cost conscious, with good deals and budget being key influencers on vacation choices. Destinations and service providers should continue to be mindful of concerns and challenges that today’s travelers face. It is our hope that this new study will help to provide guidance to travel industry professionals in the development of brand strategies, messaging priorities, audience segmentation, media planning and more for the year to come.”

Key findings from the first annual Portrait of European Travellers study include: 

  • - On a per trip basis, U.K., Spanish and Italian travelers intend to spend more than French and German travelers.
  • - While Gen Zs intend to take more international trips in 2023 (average of 3.2) compared to Gen Xers (average of 2.3) and Boomers (average of 1.9), Gen Xers and Boomers plan to spend more on these trips than Gen Zs ($4,376 and $4,291 respectively compared to $2,679). 
  • - In terms of influencing factors, COVID-19 sits at the bottom of the list of factors impacting travel decisions, while the cost of airfare and accommodations in addition to personal safety sit at the top.
  • - The primary motivator for Europeans traveling internationally is to experience different cultures, while for the U.K. the desire to get away and unplug and spend time with family and friends rated most highly. 

All European travelers agree that their top choice of accommodation is chain-affiliated hotels, while the second choice varies by country, with Spanish and U.K. travelers choosing to stay in resorts, French travelers preferring short-term rentals and Italian travelers choosing B&B accommodation.

Thirty percent of European travelers indicate that they have avoided a destination or transportation option because they feel that it was not committed to sustainable practices.

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