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How are consumers’ attitudes and expectations shaping European tourism recovery?

While European tourism sector continues to bounce back from the pandemic, the European Travel Commission unveils a report on consumers’ behaviour and experiences during the summer of 2022 and their future expectations that will drive the tourism recovery.

Europe enjoyed a strong travel rebound over the summer months of 2022. However, the sector faced other major challenges this year such as staff shortages, increased living costs, and an energy crisis driven by the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to the study, staff shortages had minor impact on satisfaction during summer holidays. Indeed, 94% of interviewees are satisfied or very satisfied with their European holiday in the summer of 2022. Although 54% of respondents were affected by labour shortages, only a few of them feel that their trust in travel providers has been affected. Most express an understanding of the problems faced in the tourism sector post-Covid-19.

More than 90% have a positive perception of Europe as a tourism destination. However, respondents express concerns related to the war in Ukraine, with almost 2 in 5 mentioning that they will avoid visiting countries neighbouring the conflict zone. Only 7% state that they will refrain from travelling to Eastern Europe in general.

Less and less travellers are worried about catching Covid-19 during their holiday. However, the sanitary crisis is still mentioned as a concern by 22% of respondents during their travel planning phase. Furthermore, the interviewees would prefer some pandemic habits to remain in the future, such as enhanced hygiene and social distancing, as well as consumer protection through last-minute cancellations, refunds, or flexibility for changes.

Approximately 3 in 4 respondents expect inflation to impact their future travel. Consumers are expected to do thorough research before booking their next holidays, reduce trip length, travel during the low season, and prioritise their travel budget more wisely. Moreover, at the destination, travellers may also decrease their spending, for example on eating out.

Addressing climate change is a key challenge for the tourism sector. Some of the many ways it can be influenced is through improving land-based transport connectivity and emissions offsetting programmes. An openness to greener initiatives is also observed amongst the interviewees, suggesting the eagerness for more eco-friendly travel options among consumers.

Based on this study, European Travel Commission make some suggestions and recommendations towards travel professionals. First, they must keep flexible offers and offer contactless alternatives regarding safety needs. Furthermore, destinations may ensure better crowded management. They also must work on information and accessibility through partnerships with tour operators for instance. Tourists from any countries and any ages should be able to travel easily within the European destinations and find every information they need.

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