BRUSSELS - Despite continuing lockdowns, Europeans are progressively interested in trips during the second quarter of 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out. That is according to the latest report from the European Travel Commission (ETC) “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 4” featuring data collected in December 2020.
These monthly reports provide up-to-date information on the impact of COVID-19 on Europeans’ travel plans and preferences regarding types of destinations and experiences, holiday periods and anxieties related to travel in the coming months.
Spring 2021 is now firmly in the sights of European travellers
The proportion of Europeans willing to travel during spring 2021 grew by 20% compared to the November 2020 survey, with 1 out of 3 respondents now stating this intention. At the same time, the number of Europeans planning to travel in the next six months increased slightly from 49% to 52%. These two figures point to a more positive outlook for spring-summer, while only 12% of respondents consider taking a trip in January-February 2021.
The latest survey indicates that intra-European travel is now the top choice as more respondents are willing to take a trip to another European country (40%) than travel domestically (36% - a 7% decline compared to the November survey). Leisure is the primary purpose for almost 63% of the surveyed Europeans planning to travel in the short-term, while visiting friends and relatives is the main motive for another 21%. Business travel accounts for 9% of respondents.
Confidence in air travel also seems to be steadily on the rise. 52% of Europeans now state that they are willing to travel by air, compared to 49% in September. Simultaneously, a lower percentage of respondents (17%) consider that flying poses the greatest risk to their health, down from 20% in September 2020.
Strict health and safety protocols safeguard the joy of travelling
The report proves that strict health and safety protocols build trust and peace of mind and make travel more enjoyable. As many as 67% of respondents feel safe and relaxed enough to enjoy their trip when strict protocols are in place. Only 22% of Europeans state that such measures can to some degree spoil the travel experience, while another 11% say that it makes no difference to them.
In any event, quarantine measures, rising COVID-19 cases at the destination and falling ill while on holiday continue to be top concerns for 15%, 14% and 14% of Europeans with short-term travel plans respectively.
Mature travellers become more social media friendly as the pandemic continues
Older travellers are increasingly engaged on social media, recalling past trips and looking forward to travelling in the future. While tourism-related mentions on social media for the age groups 18-25 and 25-35 were down in November 2020 compared to the same month in 2019, there has been a significant increase in such mentions among the 55-65 (86%) and over 65 (136%) age segment.