Europe travel demand strengthens

The latest European Travel Commission (ETC) report “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel” suggests there is a strong appetite for travel in Europe this spring and summer. Twelve EU/EEA countries have now dropped their Covid measures and now permit restriction-free entry to non-EU travellers.  This could mean medical travel will improve faster than expected, despite the Russia/Ukraine war.

The ETC report gauges the sentiment, drivers and behaviours for domestic and intra-European travel in ten high-volume European source markets: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Austria.

Despite the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, the report states that 77% of Europeans have travel plans between April and September 2022. Over half (56%) are planning a trip to another European country, with Mediterranean destinations having the highest appeal.

Travel intentions increase with age, rising from 69% among Gen Z (18-24 years old) to 83% among baby boomers (over 54 years old).

Spain is the most favoured destination among Europeans travelling abroad between April-September 2022, followed by Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.

COVID-19 remains a source of concern when travelling as Europeans are worried about quarantine measures and possible changes in travel restrictions. Europeans with short-term travel plans acknowledge the importance of strict health protocols, which provide a sense of safety and peace of mind to relax and enjoy their trip.

ETC says that COVID-19 has largely become a fact of life.

Following the improvement of the COVID-19 situation and the high vaccination rates, several European Union/European Economic Area countries have already lifted their entry rules for all travellers, including those from third countries.

The list of EU/EEA countries that have dropped their measures and now permit restriction-free entry to non-EU travellers is:

  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Greece (from 2 May)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden

Travellers from non-EU countries can enter the 12 above-mentioned EU/EEA countries regardless of their vaccination status.  They are not required to present a valid COVID Pass – a vaccination, recovery, or test certificate – for any of these countries.

Except for being permitted restriction-free entry to these countries, non-EU travellers no longer have to worry about domestic COVID-19 measures, as the majority have lifted them.

Travellers from third countries as well as those travelling within the EU are no longer required to hold a vaccination, recovery, or test certificate when accessing bars, cafes, restaurants, museums, theatres, shopping centres, and other large events.

Some countries such as Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Germany still continue to keep restrictions in place. Third-country travellers need to present valid proof when reaching these countries.

This is all good news for inbound European medical tourism as not only are rules vanishing but hospitals again have room for medical travellers.