Europe is seeing hints of nervousness among travelers because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. European firms are saying they are beginning to see a slowdown in bookings, but no mass cancellations. The impact of the war, so far, on European travel is not large.
Countries bordering Ukraine, such as Poland, have been pushed to say that travel is safe, as have Danube river cruise operators. The Danube runs through Slovakia and Hungary, which share borders with the war-torn country.
“It’s very difficult,” John Coupland, who operates John England Tours, says. “For me, this spring is looking good. Normally by now I have a good picture of the summer but now it’s too early. People are being cautious with the dreadful events in Ukraine. It’s difficult to tell.”
Most of Coupland’s bookings are international travelers from North America. This is the segment of travel to Europe considered most likely to be affected by the war.
At the beginning of March, 62% of U.S. travelers questioned told MMGY Global that concerns about the war spreading was a factor in their plans and 47% said they would take a wait and see approach.
ForwardKeys, an analysis firm, said that they saw transatlantic ticket sales fall by 13% in the week following the invasion.
There are many initiatives for those working in travel to help refugees fleeing war. While the surge in Airbnb bookings in Ukraine turns out to have been well meaning but misguided, Tripadvisor will match all donations made through them to the World Central Kitchen. Others may be found here.
Increases in the price of fuel are also likely to be a factor in the coming season, as surcharges are introduced by airlines.
On top of war, Covid may be rearing its ugly head again. A new surge is underway in the UK, with hospitalisations increasing. England recently dropped most of its restrictions.
A new variant has also been discovered in France, the U.K. and U.S. Named Deltacron, it contains elements of Delta and Omicron. It is still too early to tell how severe it is, how infectious it is, or how vaccines act against it.
Those eligible are being urged to get a booster.
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