More than half (56%) of Europeans are willing to travel by the end of August, latest research reveals.
This follows an 85% plunge in international tourist arrivals to Europe in January as a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, coupled with prohibitive quarantine and testing requirements, dampened traveller sentiment, according to the European Travel Commission.
The EU’s Digital Green Certificate, planned to be introduced before summer, is expected to support the reopening of European travel and tourism in 2021.
But the ETC cautioned: “While vaccination programmes provide a boost, the outlook remains mixed, with the latest forecasts estimating that international arrivals to Europe will remain 46% below 2019 levels in 2021, with a full recovery not expected until 2024.”
The UK government’s plans to start lifting travel restrictions after May 17 have already resulted in an upsurge in UK holiday bookings, mainly to southern European destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and Turkey.
Fully vaccinated US citizens are now allowed to travel internationally, also providing a sense of optimism for many European countries, according to the ETC.
While the number of Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 climbs, summer forecasts are trending upwards as the EU considers allowing entry upon proof of vaccination.
ETC executive director Eduardo Santander said: “Following a gloomy 12 months, we finally have reasons to be more optimistic about summer 2021.
“The rollout of vaccination programmes in Europe, although hampered by some hurdles, has proven its effectiveness in stopping Covid-19 infection rates.
“Meanwhile, the proposed EU Digital Green Certificate opens the door for destinations across Europe to welcome back European and international travellers in the coming season, much earlier than we thought.
“What’s needed now to revive consumer confidence is clarity of communications regarding the applicable travel rules and the speedy rollout of EU Certificate.”