Consumer-led growth continues to drive travel recovery into 2022, with consumers keen to spend the savings accumulated throughout the pandemic, reports the European Travel Commission (ETC).
The most recent edition of the “European Tourism Trends & Prospects” quarterly report from ETC continues to monitor COVID-19’s impact on the sector, examining how travel activity is rebounding as the world learns to live with COVID-19.
Widespread vaccine take-up helped reduce Omicron’s threat, with many destinations loosening travel restrictions, generating a more positive outlook for 2022.
Canada has now significantly relaxed its entry requirements and the EU recommends to European nations that vaccinated travellers should be allowed to visit.
Driven by strong domestic and intra-European travel, the overall travel demand is projected to be 30 per cent below pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
Whereas domestic travel is expected to recover entirely in 2022, international travel will be slower on the uptake and is not likely to surpass 2019 levels until 2025.
Annual average growth from Canada to Europe is expected to be 36 per cent in the five-year period 2020-2025, with the fastest increase in Southern Europe (42.8 per cent).
“With the ease of restrictions across many European destinations, we are excited to welcome back avid Canadian travellers,” said Pascal Prinz, chair of ETC’s Chapter in Canada. “Air bookings to Europe are strong. All major carriers are ramping up their transatlantic flight schedule, offering Canadians great deals and direct flights to experience Europe.”
According to the latest ETC Long-Haul Travel Barometer, good flight connections between Canada and Europe are a key driver of positive sentiment about European travel, with younger generations most likely to travel long-haul during 2022 – 57 per cent of 18-34 year-olds, 46 per cent of 35-49 year-olds, and 32 per cent of the 50+ age group.
Canadians desire multi-national itineraries that visit several European destinations, says the ETC.
The variety of cycling routes in the region as well as rail and road trips also help drive sentiment for visiting Europe.
More than half (54 per cent) of Canadian respondents shared an interest in visiting European metropolitan areas, with France, Italy, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland on top of their destination wish list.
Meanwhile, coastal, and mountainous regions appear to be in equal demand among Canadians (both 27 per cent).
COVID-19 concerns (48 per cent) are the main deterrent to international travel for Canadians, with travel costs (12 per cent) and restrictions at destinations (eight per cent) also slightly above the combined average of long-haul markets.
Knowing that the country effectively handles the pandemic (30 per cent), flexible cancellation policies (28 per cent), fully lifted travel restrictions (27 per cent), getting vaccinated for COVID-19 (25 per cent) and appropriate health protocols that secure the safety of locals and travellers (23 per cent) are the factors classified as most important for boosting Canadian travellers’ confidence.
With more and more travellers returning to Europe, the ETC is reminding travel advisors of the available resources to support them.
To check for entry requirements for each country, find the latest information at reopen.europa.eu and contact the National Tourist Board of the respective country.