European Travel Fever – Where Vacationers Are Headed This Summer

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European Travel Fever

Travelers are flocking to Europe this summer, booking trips to major bucket list cities, despite airfare averaging nearly $1,200 per ticket– the highest prices seen in the last six years.

European vacations are in high demand for international US travelers, and most are sticking to well-known destinations rather than venturing off the beaten path, according to travel booking platform Hopper. Airfare isn’t the only thing reaching record highs this year. Hotel prices are up 37% and 61% in places like Rome.

Travel insurer Allianz Partners reports that the number of Americans traveling to Europe this summer would surge by 55%, following last summer’s 600% increase. The report also notes that 80% of Americans heading to Europe plan to spend at least seven days on vacation.

“We have certainly seen tremendous growth of bookings and reservations from our hoteliers, hosts and property owners, many who have rooms booked for several weeks straight through summer,” says eviivo CEO Michele Fitzpatrick.

European Travel Fever

Hospitality tech companies RateGain and eviivo teamed up to determine Europe’s top summer travel trends. Based on inbound international flight booking data for June-Aug’23, here’s where vacationers are going this year.

Top European Destinations for Summer 2023 – Portugal Takes the Crown

Portugal tops the charts as the most booked European country, with its capital Lisbon being the number one city for leisure travel this summer. Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, also made the top ten. According to RateGain, flights to Portugal from the Americas are more economical than any other European destination.

Spain comes in second place, with Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, and Madrid ranking among the top ten European cities for leisure travelers. According to reports, Spain expects over 52 million tourists between May and October.

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Italy ranked third, which is no surprise since the country has remained in high demand post-pandemic. Rome and Milan are among the top ten cities vacationers are headed to. Data also reveals that Italy was one of the destinations preferred by couples and families traveling to Europe this year.

“I’m thrilled to see Portugal, Spain and Italy the top three most visited countries for summer 2023 since they are truly special, beautiful and inspiring destinations,” says Philp Comunello, eviivo Regional Director of Iberia and Italy. “Eviivo has significantly grown in these regions as more hosts, owners and hoteliers are opening vacation rentals, boutique hotels, Airbnbs and casitas to meet the demand of travelers.”

Coming in fourth, the UK has seen a rise in flight bookings post-pandemic, and London is calling! Leisure travelers are choosing London as their preferred city this summer. Lastly, Greece nabbed fifth place, with the “City of the Violet Crown,” Athens, as the most sought-after destination.

Other countries on the top ten list of most booked destinations for leisure travelers include Paris, France, Germany, Croatia, Ireland, and the Netherlands. But with so many popular places on the list, what can travelers expect this summer?

Summer Travel Insights: Be Prepared for Crowds, Heat Waves, and Strikes

Although it’s relatively early in the season, many European destinations are already seeing summer crowds, according to CNN. One Amsterdam business reported, “If I look out of the window, it already feels a bit like July.” A company in Paris told CNN vacationers looking for last-minute tickets to events or reservations for in-demand restaurants should “temper expectations” this year. “Everything dealing with leisure, including fine dining and luxury hotels, is booked so far in advance, much earlier than before.”

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So-called “set-jetters” are also causing crowds in places like Paris and Sicily anxious to see the locations of their favorite shows, “Emily in Paris” on Netflix and the second season of “The White Lotus” on HBO. One traveler told CNN in Palmero, the Sicilian capital, tourists were “spilling onto the street like it was Mardi Gras” in early June. “You could barely move through the street to get to another bar. People were just like sardines, packed in everywhere.”

Last summer, Europe was hit with extreme temperatures, and this year is expected to be even hotter, reports euronews. The cooling weather pattern La Niña has ended after three years, and El Niño has arrived. This climate event is known to cause heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and flooding. Travelers should hydrate and stay cool to avoid heat exhaustion.

Finally, Europe’s travel industry is experiencing “a hive of strikes” over high inflation and unmatched wages, according to a euronews report. This could cause flights and trains to be delayed or even canceled.

Over 2,000 security staff have planned a walkout and 29 days of strikes over pay at London Heathrow Airport. The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) has announced possible strikes against Europa Air from mid-June to early July. Meanwhile, in France, strikes over an increase in the legal retirement age have impacted travelers since January.