After the pandemic lockdowns were lifted, many were eager to get back to travelling internationally with safety restrictions eased. While travel and tourism surged significantly in 2022, slowdowns emerged due to price jumps, geopolitical conflict, and economic woes that affected travel in 2023. Deals from the global travel and tourism industry declined significantly as well. Deal activity dropped by 36.2% year-on-year in January to August 2023 compared to the same period last year.
Despite these hurdles in the sector, Europe’s tourism is still surging against all odds. Flight bookings to northern Europe from June to August increased by 25% compared to the previous year, and flights to southern Europe jumped by 13%. Visitors from the United States drove most of this growth, with cities like Barcelona and London welcoming more tourists from the country than they did in 2019. While tourism hasn’t fully recovered compared to pre-pandemic levels, the influx of holidaymakers in Europe may present promising prospects for the coming years.
The rise of “revenge travel”
Once it became safer for travelling to resume, travellers began planning and setting out on holidays after being unable to during the first two years of the pandemic. This renewed zeal for travel was dubbed “revenge travel” as people flocked to destinations all over the world to regain lost experiences and time. European airports reported a 250% increase in volume in the first half of 2022. Tourists were also willing to spend more on trips. Around 77% of travellers said they plan to spend the same or more on trips abroad in 2023 than last year.
Though this type of travelling is predicted to slow down in 2023 and the coming years, Europe may still see an influx of tourists aiming to go on such a holiday. Travellers from Asia are expected to return in the second half of the year, which may continue to increase the number of holidays to Europe amid slowdowns. Despite the increased cost of living in Europe and globally, people are willing to shell out more for their travels to make up for the years when going on holiday was impossible. Revenge travel to Europe may persist in 2023 and onward, albeit at a slower pace.
Last minute holiday boom
New ways of planning holidays are making it easier for many to head on a trip, even for spur-of-the-moment getaways. There’s been a spike in late bookings for international holidays despite economic woes, showing that many are still willing to travel even at the last minute. Travel agencies partnered with Advantage Travel Partnership reported that 18% of bookings were for August, a 4% increase expected for late bookings in peak summer months. Booking last minute holidays are becoming very popular for people who want to visit somewhere new without having to plan extensively. These all-inclusive holidays can take people to European countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey at the drop of a hat.
It’s easy for people to access an extensive selection of flight times, holiday durations, and travel dates so they can travel any time of year, eliminating many of the time-consuming aspects of holiday planning. As such, people can fly more conveniently and frequently. Airline easyJet showcases how popular these types of holidays have become. The demand for their flights and holidays is expected to let them surpass their 2023 financial predictions. New ways to book a trip make travelling to Europe more attractive, thanks to lower costs and flexible arrangements.
There’s still much turmoil in the economic and geopolitical landscape impacting travel, but an increased appetite for holidays to Europe is defying the odds amid global slowdowns. With more people aiming to recover from the pandemic’s effect on travel plans and easier ways to plan holidays, Europe’s travel and tourism industry may continue to prosper thanks to an influx of tourists. It remains to be seen how global events and issues will impact travel in the latter part of the year and beyond, but Europe may continue to be a hotspot for people seeking new horizons.