The war in Ukraine has not had a major impact on travel to Europe from distant destinations. This is according to the latest European Travel Commission (ETC) Long Haul Travel Barometer. According to it, fears of covid-19 and high costs are the main barriers to long-haul trips for summer holidays or tours. Lack of and long-lasting air links also play a role.
The ETC has researched the appetite for travel to Europe in six markets - Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the United States of America (USA). It does this on a regular four-monthly basis. The results showed, among other things, that the intention to travel long distances is still below pre-pandemic levels. Although appetite has improved slightly year-on-year, it remains weak. The only market where travel sentiment has increased year-on-year is Brazil.
„The majority of ETC survey participants said that while the Russia-Ukraine conflict has created new challenges for the European travel sector, the war has had limited impact on the sentiment of most of the remote markets surveyed. Except for China and Russia, says CzechTourism Director Jan Herget, adding. The main obstacles to long-distance travel during this summer are considered by residents of the surveyed destinations to be covid-19, high costs and lack of comfort.“
Commenting on the barometer results, ETC President Luís Araújo says: „ETC is pleased to see that the mood for long-haul travel is gradually improving, just as the world is recovering from the pandemic – even if it is doing so at a slow pace. And it is encouraging that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has not become another deterrent to international travel to Europe.“
Air travel also plays a role. ETC found that more than half of Americans who want to travel to Europe this summer have not yet booked their tickets. And only 30% of Canadians have made reservations. Last-minute bookings will be important, thanks to the geopolitical situation and the fact that there are still fewer flights than before the covid. People generally welcome more direct flights without connections.
„The renewal and further development of long-distance routes in general are among the priorities of Prague Airport. Since 27 May, thanks to Delta Air Lines, the Prague – New York/JFK connection, which was one of the most attractive before 2019, has been available to passengers. The offer includes flights with daily frequency until September 5. Other factors are also adversely affecting the speed of renewal and the capacity offered by carriers, notably the lack of aircraft and crew following the covid crisis. However, despite this fact, we are negotiating with the carriers to resume direct flights from the USA and Canada as soon as possible, says Jaroslav Filip, Head of Air Commerce at Prague Airport.
Despite the above, Europe remains a safe and attractive travel destination according to ETC. However, – the consequences of the war in Ukraine – as well as the rising cost of living and expenses associated with – travel – are hindering the sector's recovery.
„That is why promoting Europe, including the Czech Republic of course, and restoring international mobility is absolutely crucial this year. This is matched by the CzechTourism Agency's international campaign Come experience the traditional and the new, which is currently deployed in 14 countries worldwide by credit rating. A positive role is also played by the fact that the Czech Republic has recently confirmed its position in the TOP 10 safest countries in the world,“ says František Reismüller, director of marketing and foreign representations of the Czech Tourism Centre – CzechTourism.
The complete results of the ETC barometer on long-distance travel are available here.
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