Despite the war in Ukraine and the ongoing cloud of Covid-19 travel restrictions, it’s clear that people are ready to travel to Europe and between EU countries once more–incentivised by the fact that many European countries have scrapped travel restrictions.
What this means is a surge in bookings as everyone hits the road again this spring and summer, with what The Huffington Post calls “revenge travel” as people start to act on the sense of wanderlust that has been building over the course of the pandemic:
- The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) reported that in March 2022, U.S. air travel to and from Europe increased by a staggering 862% over March 2021. Paris was the fifth largest hub to serve U.S. destinations after Cancun, London Heathrow, Toronto and Mexico City.
- Eurostat, an EU statistics provider reported that EU commercial flights increased by 156% in March 2022 compared to March 2021–although this figure still remains 27% less than March 2019, pre-pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Eurostat also reported that domestic travel has thrived during the pandemic across the 27 EU nation states, whilst airlines saw tumbling passenger numbers for overseas travel.
- New research by the European Travel Commission (ETC) reported a strong appetite for travel with 3 out of 4 Europeans planning to travel before September 2022 with over half looking to visit another EU country (56%). For many, the Mediterranean is in their sights.
- Many EU countries are reporting a huge increase in bookings. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics reported an increase in tourist nights in February–226,000 arrivals and 570,000 tourist nights spent, which was 121,000 tourist arrivals and 324,000 more tourist nights than in February 2021. And Demoskopika, the Italian research institute for tourism reported that over 92 million tourists are expected to holiday in Italy this year, so an increase of 35% on last year.
For many people looking for deals and good times to travel, the outlook is a bit more bleak. Axios reported that there is no down-time for travel anymore. With people working less in the office, many more can travel at what used to be called “off-peak” times. It is the “new reality as travel moves toward normal. There’s no down time: Flights are crammed, whether it’s 5 a.m. or 9 p.m. Crowds are crazy and cranky at all hours.”
Prices are also rising–Delta reported its best cash sales month ever in March 2022 and the issue is compounded by staff shortages, notably a lack of pilots.