European travellers have a stable and positive attitude towards travel but concerns over falling ill at the destination and quarantine restrictions have resulted in postponing more trips to 2021.
This is according to the latest report “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel: Wave 2” released this week by the European Travel Commission (ETC).
This is the second of six monthly reports gauging Europeans’ short-term travel intentions from ten high-volume source markets to better understand and respond to the impact of COVID-19. This report also provides information on people’s travel preferences, including types of destinations and experiences, holiday periods and anxiety relating to travel in the next months.
European travel sentiment resistant amidst COVID-19
Similar to the Results of Wave 1, a majority of respondents (54%), indicate that they intend to take a trip in the next six months. Travel within Europe is the top choice with the same percentage of respondents (39%) planning to travel domestically and to other European locations. Nonetheless, the survey highlights an 18% drop in a stated preference for travel before the end of 2020 and slight increases in uncertainty about exact timing (+6%) and specific destination (+8%) compared to data collected for the previous wave.
Leisure is the primary purpose for almost 65% of the surveyed Europeans with short-term travel plans, while visiting friends and relatives would be the primary purpose for another 20%. Despite the effect of COVID-19 on urban destinations, city breaks prevail as the most favoured type of leisure trip among 21% of respondents. Simultaneously, with winter on the way, there seems to be a sharp 39% increase in the share of respondents opting for skiing and snowboarding holidays.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, health and safety is the primary consideration in any travel plans of Europeans. Air travel continues to be regarded as the least safe part of a journey according to 20% of respondents. The existence of flexible cancellation policies is now the main driver of travel decision-making among Europeans, standing at close to 11%. The possibility of an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 follows closely behind at 10%.
Winter worsens the short-term effect of COVID-19
The results reveal that primary concerns for those intending to travel in the short-term are still quarantine measures during a trip (15%). However, the possibility of falling ill at the destination and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, both around 13%, now loom larger in people’s minds. Uncertainty about the exact timing of a trip is also a major issue, with approximately 35% of Europeans not knowing when they will travel next.
Speaking following the publication of the report, ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander stated: “The latest numbers clearly show that Europeans’ desire for travel stays strong amid the reimposition of lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe. EU governments must take a step forward and find a compromise together with the health authorities on practical solutions on how to implement necessary protocols and safely restart travel operations. Europeans deserve to see their families or have a short holiday break during the upcoming winter holidays”.
The ETC report surveyed nearly 6,000 respondents against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented impact it continues to have on global tourism.
Full summary can be downloaded here
 Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Austria