A survey conducted by the European Travel Commission (ETC) has found that despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and Covid-19 concerns for some people, European sentiment for traveling in 2022 has been rising.
The results, published in a report on the ETC’s website, show positive results for the European travel and tourism sector.
Firstly, the report outlines that despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing hot war in the country, European sentiment has not faltered in fear of a larger conflict.
In addition, Polish survey participants, whose country borders Ukraine and is dealing with a large-scale refugee crisis, show an above-European average sentiment to travel abroad in 2022. This is also reflected by an unaffected interest in Eastern European travel destinations in people from other European countries.
“Although the survey was conducted during the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europeans’ travel sentiment and behaviour have not yet been affected by the conflict. Notably, the Polish, who neighbour Ukraine, maintain a stable, above-European-average travel sentiment; their planned length of stay and budgets remains consistent with data collected at the same time last year. Furthermore, interest in Eastern European destinations is unaltered, reflecting the limited impact of the ongoing conflict on intra-European travel to date,” the report reads.
Further, the report does not seem to account for the thousands of people who have traveled to Poland, Slovakia, and Romania to aid in the Ukrainian refugee crisis. This omission could show highly positive attitudes towards Eastern Europe despite the global sentiment to aid Ukraine.
Regarding Covid-19, the report seems to outline a slow-but-steady increase in those who are actually going on the trips they planned relative to those who do not. This is largely due to some Member States easing their travel restrictions, and the number of those who are going on their trips increased 11% between December 2021 and April 2022.
“As COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased and Europeans learn how to live amidst the pandemic, the share of those realising their original travel plans continues to increase steadily (now 27%, compared to 16% in December 2021),” the report reads.
However, a minority of 30% of would-be travelers surveyed still cite Covid concerns, saying that strict Covid restrictions offer them the “peace of mind to relax and enjoy their trip.”
37% of those surveyed said that strict travel restrictions provide them with a “sense of security and safety.”
Despite the EU’s narrative for Covid-19 and the uncertainty posed by Russian military action in Ukraine, however, the ETC’s position is largely optimistic, citing that despite these factors and a rising cost of living, people are still wanting to travel in Europe.
“Our report demonstrates that European confidence in travelling is growing now that COVID-19 has largely become a fact of life. New uncertainties on the horizon, namely the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the rising cost of living, are presenting challenges for the travel sector. However, ETC is pleased to see that in spite of these uncertainties, appetite for travel is still on the rise and the European tourism sector remains resilient,” said ETC President Luis Araujo.