KANSAS CITY— The travel industry, hit hard by the pandemic, has steadily been making gains over the past year, and optimism for 2022 is high; however, the war in Ukraine is making some in the industry nervous about Europe’s tourism recovery, according to MMGY Travel Intelligence. MMGY Global’s research and insights division surveyed hundreds of U.S. travelers planning to visit Europe about the war to understand its impact on traveler sentiment and behavior. The following are key findings from that survey.
- Sixty-two percent of U.S. travelers cited concerns about the war in Ukraine spreading to nearby countries as a factor impacting plans to travel to Europe, which is twice the number (31 percent) who cited COVID-19 health and safety concerns as a factor.
- Forty-seven percent of travelers want to wait and see how the situation in Ukraine evolves before making plans to visit Europe this year.
- Fifty percent of respondents said they were concerned about possible delays and cancellations of flights, trains, and cruises, as well as the potential for border closures.
- Of those surveyed, the most popular destinations they wish to visit are Italy, followed by France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
During the progression of COVID-19, travel sentiment turned positive much more quickly than was originally suggested by survey instruments in the midst of the crisis, according to MMGY Global CEO Clayton Reid. There is a possibility that this reaction could repeat itself with the current situation based on today’s results.
Reid went on to remark, “Now is the time for travel providers to address this hesitancy around European travel by reminding consumers of flexible cancellation and rebooking policies. Much like at the height of the Omicron variant, we can’t predict how the situation may escalate; but travelers should feel confident in booking because of the flexible policies most airlines, hotels, and OTAs introduced in response to COVID-19. It is also my belief that this hesitancy is short-lived and that prior to the peak travel season to Europe, sentiment will return to much more positive levels.”