COVID-19: Insights on Travel Impact, Europe #38

June 2, 2020

With our access to real-time traveller audiences and unmatched visibility into global travel demand, we’re in a unique position to share the current travel trends at the forefront of marketers’ minds. In this blog series, we’ll take a look at the data in order to aid travel marketers in their assessment of this worldwide event. They can use these trends to inform their marketing strategies during this period and be prepared for the recovery once the situation stabilises. 

These insights are based on data collected on the 1st June, 2020. We will be reviewing our data on a weekly basis in order to provide a regular view of trends and patterns in consumer behaviour. Sojern’s insights are based on over 350 million traveller profiles and billions of travel intent signals, however it does not capture one hundred percent of the travel market.

Travel Intent and Demand Recovering in Some European Markets

Flight searches and bookings remain down overall, but as mentioned in last week’s blog post, we are starting to see travellers respond positively to the various European countries that are starting to reopen their borders in the coming weeks and months. 

This week, we want to deep-dive into some of these countries, in order to see where that travel intent is coming from. While searches and bookings are not up to 2019 levels, we’ve indexed our graphs to the first week in April, when Europe was perhaps in the worst phase of the virus, lockdowns were strictest, and travel intent was at its lowest, in order to see the recovery and where it is coming from.

Greece Attracting a lot of Travel Intent, Especially Within Europe

Late last week, Greece announced that they will accept visitors from 29 European countries as of 15th June, as the Greek government looks to open its borders. Here is a sample of some of those countries, and how their travel intent has improved. We’ve seen major upticks in intent from the likes of Czech Republic (up over 300%) and Germany (up 158%) from April—and indeed, we see that domestic travel within Greece is very strong, up nearly 200% since the beginning of April. It’s worth noting that although Australians have been allowed to travel to Greece, their intent is only up about 44%. This indicates, again, that recovery will begin domestically and regionally, before long-haul flights resume en masse.


Travel Searches to Greece from Permitted Arrival Countries, Indexed to 5th April

Greece Even Sees Travel Intent from Countries not Currently Allowed to Enter

Countries like the UK, France, Italy, and Spain were not included in the list of permitted countries, likely due to the instances of COVID-19 within their borders. While this could be revisited, at the moment, Greece will not be accepting arrivals from these countries. However, that hasn’t stopped travellers from dreaming of their next Greek adventure! We see major upticks in travel intent from these countries as well, including a nearly 150% increase in intent from France, and 125% from Italy since April.


Travel Searches to Greece from Arrival Countries Not Permitted, Indexed to 5th April

Spanish Domestic Travel Sees Big Uptick, Intent up from France, Italy, and the UK

Spain is also starting to reopen to travellers, and will lift its 14-day quarantine rule for tourists as of 1st July. They have not specified if particular countries are allowed in over others, but we are seeing increases in intent from France, Italy, and the UK, which are up 75%, 69% and 21% since April.

Travel within Spain has seen the biggest uptick in travel intent, with domestic travel searches up 128% from April.


Travel Searches to Spain From Key Markets, Indexed to 5th April

Domestic Travel Intent to Ireland up 130% Since April

Ireland is beginning their own easing of lockdown restrictions. The easings began in late May, and will continue into July and August. Phase four of the easings, which begins 20th July, is where we will see hotels being able to reopen, albeit with limited capacities to start out with, as well as the reopening of attractions, such as galleries and museums.

This isn’t stopping people from dreaming of their next trip to the Emerald Isle, and we’ve already seen major upticks in travel intent to Ireland. We now see that domestic searches for travel within Ireland are up 130% since April, which means that staycations and nearcations are very much on people’s minds for when travel starts to reopen. Interestingly, we also see an 87% increase in travel intent coming from the UK, but it remains to be seen whether Brits will be able to travel to and from Ireland with ease. While the UK is waiving the 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Ireland, at present, Ireland has not reciprocated the gesture.


Travel Searches to Ireland, Indexed to 5th April

We will continue to share more insights as we monitor the situation. What remains clear is that Europeans are still actively looking for a chance to holiday this summer, whether within their own country or regionally. These forward looking insights will hopefully help travel marketers shape their strategies when the industry starts to recover from this outbreak. 

For the rest of the COVID-19 insights series click here

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