Is the Christmas season changing for Europeans? Are they starting to avoid the crowds? The question has been raised at the research level, because changes in habits are recorded and the answer is yes: the desire is changing, but not without reason, as can be seen from the data, at least in Crete.
It is true that the favorite holiday season of Europeans is summer. This year he finds them worried, since the pandemic has marked a new criterion in their elections. As research from the European Travel Commission reveals, more and more people are seeking destinations based on a lack of crowds. With good weather conditions and attractive offers as the dominant criteria, Europeans now place among their three priorities the criterion of not having too many people in the place they will choose for their holidays. It is impressive, in fact, that this criterion moved up one place, from fourth to third this year, in the question “what criteria will play the most important role in choosing your next destination”, which was added from 2022 to the survey .
“I think it has to do with the habits we have acquired in the three years of the pandemic, that is, getting off the beaten path and discovering how comfortable and exciting it is to discover new places,” says Luis Araujo, president of the European Commission for Trips. Having more available space was important to almost a third of European travelers.
the critery of cost
One thing that has returned to pre-pandemic standards, however, is the cost criteria. Shrinking real household income and shrinking budgets available for vacations signal the end of the travel frenzy that came after coronavirus measures were lifted. More than two-thirds of those surveyed plan to escape in the spring and early summer, before the peak month of August, according to the latest ETC report.
It is true that for Crete as a classic tourist destination, especially loved by Europeans, the phenomena affected by the current conditions are different. In other words, the holidays in the spring and autumn periods have many clients for the island, but it is not a current phenomenon and it mainly affects pensioners or employees and especially those who do not have children who have school obligations.
Especially in Crete, where the weather is good, the observation to choose holidays outside the high season is valid, notes the Director of Tourism of the Cretan Region, Nikos Alexakis, who has the experience of participating in major tourist exhibitions not only this year, but also in the previous ones.
“It is clear that the holidays in Crete now end at the end of October or beginning of November. So what is clear is that they plan a lot of trips this season. It just changes the mix of visitors, which means that we will not see large families coming Why do children have schools? “They come mainly retirees and generally people who have no commitments come,” he says.
It stresses that we must not forget another critical parameter. “With the pandemic, all the retirees were sitting at home. Then, at the beginning of the lifting of the restrictions, only young people who were not afraid traveled. So it is an incentive for retirees and the elderly to take more frequent vacations now,” says Mr. Alexakis.
The survey data was collected in March 2023 with participants from the top 10 European markets, including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. Despite the reputation of Europeans vacationing throughout August, the data generally does not bear this out, with the exception of 2022, when it was noted that Europeans after the pandemic season closed tended to take the entire summer off, even peak. month. This year, those numbers are down by almost a tenth, the ETC report shows, with more than two-thirds of those surveyed saying they plan their holidays in the spring or early summer months. “We are going back to the intra-European pattern we had, which is to travel in the middle and low season,” said the head of the committee.
As for the interest in traveling to places with as few people as possible, the committee believes that it is a trend that is likely to last and even take hold. After all, the member states of the commission encouraged this change by presenting different areas and activities throughout the year.
Climate change is also in the frame
Another change on the list of criteria by which Europeans choose their destination is weather, with 7% of respondents saying they take extreme weather events into account, and indeed, for the first time, climate change appears to have an impact on the travel decision-making process. .
The devastating heat waves of the summer of 2022 caused more Europeans to reconsider their destinations, with more heading to the continent’s northern coasts and traveling in the months of April, May, September and October, the commission concluded from the survey. . Also, for August, off-season and low-season destinations with cooler temperatures seem to be on the future summer wish list for Europeans.