Skift Take

There is a new market for lesser-known destinations, and travel operators need to embrace that.

Financial concerns are not changing if Europeans are traveling, but rather when and where they are traveling. A new study by the European Travel Commission, based on survey data collected in May 2023, highlights a shift in consumer behaviors towards cheaper options.

The study shows that despite a 4% decrease in the number of Europeans traveling, which is expected after the post-pandemic travel surge, travel intentions remain high. Most notably, 79% of Belgium and 80% of French citizens plan on traveling between June to November this year. Whereas only 45% of Austrians and 56% of Swiss have upcoming travel plans.

The president of the European Travel Commission, Miguel Sanz, said that while many travelers are concerned about finances, it is not stopping them.

 “Europeans are still eager to travel in the upcoming months. Many are hunting for alternative travel choices, looking for more affordable experiences, or considering off-season travel to stretch their budgets,” he said.

The study reveals that 24% of European travelers worry about the overall rise in trip costs, while 17% are concerned with the economic situation and personal finances. This has prompted many to adapt their behaviors before and during their trips: 17% said they would cut shopping expenses, and 15% will choose cheaper restaurants and less expensive accommodation.

Budgeting trips has allowed travelers to continue exploring over the summer. However, many have found that altering when and where you travel also helps in reducing costs: 17% of travelers aim to travel off-season to get better prices, and 14% plan to take vacations in destinations they perceive as more affordable.

The study revealed that Mediterranean destinations have seen a 10% decline in visitor interest, while countries like the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Denmark are witnessing a surge in popularity as travelers seek out less crowded destinations with milder temperatures.

Sanz has urged travel and tourism operators to take advantage of this shift.

“We advise destinations and businesses to capitalize on these trends and assist travelers in going off the beaten track and traveling in the less busy months,” Sanz said.


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Tags: european travel

Photo credit: Berat, Albania Diego Galli

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