Greece is fifth among the Top 10 preferred countries for travel by Europeans, according to the latest survey released this week by the European Travel Commission (ETC).

France is in the lead, followed by Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Turkey, the UK and Austria.

According to the ETC’s “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 10”, 36 percent of ‘early bird’ travelers plan to go on their next trip in May or June.

On the downside, despite previously higher intentions to travel, the Omicron outbreak and fragmented Covid-19 restrictions have negatively affected Europeans’ travel confidence at the beginning of 2021 with a mere 17 percent having fully booked their next trip.

According to the data, three in five Europeans plan to travel by June 22, down by 8 percent over the previous findings. Travel intention among Europeans dropped to 61 percent compared to spring and summer 2021 but is still stronger than one year ago (54 percent), the study found.

ETC analysts note that restrictions and requirements, even for vaccinated or recovered travelers, have hampered Europeans’ readiness to travel and left many unsure about the timing of their next trip. A patchwork of policies across Europe towards the validity period of the EU Digital Covid Certificate also failed to facilitate travel. 

However, ETC analysts note that early-summer prospects are promising, as Europeans intend to holiday for longer and spend more. A total of 38 percent of those polled said they opted for trips of over 10 nights compared to the previous survey, while the share of travelers planning to spend more than 2,000 euros rose by 31 percent, specifically among those with travel plans in May or June 2022.

The majority (72 percent) of those surveyed said they would stick to their original travel plans despite possible changes.

Half of those ready to travel prefer European destinations while 32 percent prefer going domestic.

Leading reasons for travel? Sun and beach (15 percent), city break (15 percent) and culture and heritage (13 percent). According to the same findings, business travel is slowly recovering with 15 percent claiming they would be traveling for business or conference events. Leisure travel is still a top choice for 63 percent but is down by 11 percent.

Hesitation on when to travel has increased from 11 percent in September 2021 to 21 percent in December. 

Top concerns for potential travelers include quarantine measures (18 percent), increasing Covid-19 cases at destination of choice (15 percent), and potential changes in travel restrictions (14 percent). 

Lastly, an increasing number of Europeans believe that strict health protocols at destinations have a direct negative effect on their travel experiences. Europeans said they wanted a healthy balance between Covid protective measures and free movement. 

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