The sun doesnʼt have to be shining brightly and the sea doesnʼt have to be blue, but I would certainly welcome a trip abroad. And it seems I am not alone in my desire to take to the skies for a change of scenery…

According to the latest report by the European Travel Commission (ETC), the good news for airports is that the proportion of Europeans willing to travel during spring 2021 grew by 20% compared to the organisationʼs November 2020 survey. Whatʼs more, the number of Europeans planning to travel in the next six months increased (albeit slightly) from 49% to 52%. Together, these figures point to a more positive outlook for spring-summer, compared to only 12% of respondents considering taking a trip in January-February 2021.

More than 5,740 respondents participated in ETC’s survey for its latest report. Titled “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel – Wave 4” the report also reveals that intra-European travel is now the top choice for travellers with more respondents wanting to take a trip to another European country (40%)  than to travel domestically (36%). Meanwhile, leisure is identified as the primary purpose for almost 63% of the surveyed Europeans planning to travel in the short-term, while visiting friends and relatives is the main motive for another 21% and business travel accounts for 9% of respondents.

Confidence in air travel is also steadily on the rise with 52% of Europeans now willing to travel by air, compared to 49% in September. Simultaneously, a lower percentage of respondents (17%) consider that flying poses the greatest risk to their health, down from 20% in September 2020.

However, while Europeans are increasingly eager to travel, ETC has also warned that Europeʼs aviation infrastructure, and airports in particular, need greater support if they are to meet traveller demand. With airports currently at risk of irreversible damage, ETC has joined forces with Airports Council International (ACI) Europe in calling for changes to be made to the EUʼs COVID-19 State aid framework. The two organisations have sent a letter to the European Commission highlighting how the tightening of travel restrictions is preventing recovery in passenger traffic and asking for State aid rules to enable greater  financial assistance for airports and to support air connectivity across Europe.

Itʼs going to be a tough few months ahead before we will see if European travellers’ dreams do come true in time for summer, but nothing is impossible!

I hope you enjoy this weekʼs newsletter and have a great weekend,

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway

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