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Despite the economic crisis, Europeans are still going on holiday, and even more of them want to go away this summer

Thursday 19, May 2011

 

Despite the economic crisis, Europeans are still going on holiday, and even more of them want to go away this summer

 

After two years of economic crisis, and despite the unfavourable economic context in 2011, 66 percent of Europeans claim that they will go on holiday this year (+2 points compared to 2010 and 2009), a figure that is fast catching up with the pre-crisis level when 67 percent of them were planning summer holidays.

 

In terms of destination, Europe is still preferred by 8 out of 10 Europeans, and the success of national tourism (“staycations”) continues: 47% of Europeans will remain in their native country. This proportion is even greater in countries enjoying a favourable climate, and following the sun is a decisive factor in the choice of destination. Hence, in Italy, France and Spain, 6 to 7 travellers out of 10 will stay in their home country home.

 

Rest and peace of mind are still absolute priorities for Europeans, a trend that has been confirmed since 2009. 61% of them now make rest their main goal for these summer holidays, whereas a desire for “discovery” accounts for only 38% of them (a figure that has been stable since 2008).

 

In response to this quest for tranquillity, the seaside is preferred by the vast majority of Europeans (65%).

 

€2,145: the average budget devoted to holidays is also increasing across Europe (+€62 and +3% vs 2010)

 

This increase can mainly be seen in Italy (+€112), Belgium (+€280) and particularly Germany (+€287).

 

Europeans continue to pay attention to their holiday spending: 81% consider their “budget” to be important or even essential in the choice of destination.

 

Europeans are adopting new types of behaviour and are organising themselves differently

 

Europeans are not giving up on their holidays. But they are adapting to the situation by going away for a shorter period, several times. Two-week stays are still favoured (39% of Europeans will go away for a fortnight) but their proportion is diminishing. In France and the UK, only one-week stays are on the rise in 2011.

 

The economic crisis has accentuated the adoption of new types of behaviour. Nowadays, holidays are planned in advance, and independently: 71% of Europeans started to prepare their holidays ahead of time, and the same figure arrange their holiday themselves by buying separate services. Europeans are increasingly inclined to arrange their own holidays, especially the French (78%, +5 points).

 

Europeans are using new media more and more to organise and manage their holidays.

 

Europeans are arranging their holidays more and more via the Internet in preparing their holidays, with 57% of them claiming to reserve mainly via the Internet (an uninterrupted increase since 2005 when only 28% of Europeans used it). The British are still the most technophile: 71% of them reserve their holidays using this channel.

 

As for Smartphones, their use is clearly increasing: 1 in 4 Europeans claims to own one. While 57% claim to use it less on holiday than during the rest of the year, a sign of the desire to “disconnect”, the device can find a new purpose during the holidays. Hence, one third of Europeans (34%) would find it useful to have access to practical information for organising their stay, and more than half of them (52%) would find it helpful to be able to consult a list of useful numbers during their trip, 42% a conversation guide, and 34% a telephone platform facilitating their stay.

 

Risk perception is being impacted by events in the Middle East and Southern Mediterranean

 

This year, international events are clearly impacting decisions and increasing sensitivity to risks. Europeans have been affected by the events of the past winter and this spring, and particularly by the movements in North Africa and the Middle East. Perceived risks of a terrorist attack and risks of social unrest influencing Europeans’ choice of destination have increased the most, respectively +5 points and +10 points compared to 2010

 

As was the case in previous years, health risks are the key concern for Europeans: 69% of them are mainly or even very concerned about a health problem affecting them or someone travelling with them. This year, perception of risks of social unrest along with health risks (doubtless with reminiscence of the H1N1 pandemic) is worrying an increasing number of Europeans.

 

Europeans are buying insurance cover more and more: especially the Germans, Italians and Austrians. This coverage relates to a vehicle breakdown (64%, +7 points), a health problem affecting a person not travelling with them (32%, +9 points) or a transport strike or delay (26%, +5 points). But a gap persists between the level of concern and the level of coverage. Hence, only 17% of Europeans are covered for the risk of a terrorist attack, yet this is a concern for 48% of them.

 

* The survey was conducted by phone between February 14th and March 28th 2011, at the home of the respondents and using the quota method (gender, age, profession of head of household, after stratification by region and by size of agglomeration).  It is available at  www.europ-assistance.com

 

 

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