Image Credit: Supplied

Europ Assistance announced the release of its 23rd edition of the Holiday Barometer. The survey, conducted by Ipsos, a renowned global market research firm, gathered insights from 21,000 respondents across 21 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, offering a comprehensive view of global travel trends. Data collection took place between March 27 and April 22 this year.

2024 global travel trends

Amid global uncertainty, travel emerges as a refreshing escape and a means of anxiety relief.

As the world eagerly anticipates the summer season, the 2024 Europ Assistance/IPSOS Global Holiday Barometer demonstrates a strong and growing travel appetite across the world. While the global travel landscape is evolving, bringing new constraints or causing growing concerns such as security, inflation, geopolitical uncertainty or environmental sustainability, the insights from this new Global Holiday Barometer shed light on emerging trends and changing consumer preferences shaping the future of travel. However, there are notable variations observed among the 21 countries included in the survey.

“Despite global concerns surrounding inflation, geopolitical tensions and conflicts, the desire to travel remains remarkably resilient across all regions surveyed,” says Virginie Babinet, CEO Travel Insurance & Assistance, Europ Assistance Group. “With notable variations observed among the 21 countries included in the survey, this year’s barometer reflects genuine excitement about embarking on new adventures. It’s fascinating to see how travellers adapt their practices to address constraints, for example related to inflation. The survey brings a wealth of insights to all our partners who want to decrypt new trends, expectations and preferences.”

Holiday Barometer 2024 – Key takeaways

Travel enthusiasm remains strong

Despite lingering uncertainties, travel enthusiasm is on the rise worldwide, signalling a robust recovery from the pandemic. According to the survey data, 80 per cent of the European population exhibits enthusiasm for travel. This enthusiasm is high across other zones as well, with a sizable portion—ranging from a third (31 per cent in North Asia) to nearly half (53 per cent in India)—expressing genuine excitement (“really excited”) about embarking on new adventures.

This enthusiasm has been rising significantly since 2022 across zones, especially in Australia but also in Europe and North America, showing an eagerness to travel after the pandemic. Additionally, Europeans lead the charge when it comes to summer vacation with over two-thirds (68 per cent) planning a summer getaway, highlighting a deeply rooted tradition, especially in Southern Europe, where the desire to explore new destinations runs high. In contrast, summer travel is less prevalent in other regions, with only around half of Australians (47 per cent) and Americans (53 per cent) planning trips, and even fewer Japanese (29 per cent) are gearing up for summer adventures.

Plans to go away on holiday this year (in %)

Base: All respondents

Image Credit: Supplied

Travel enthusiasm (in %)

Base: All respondents

Image Credit: Supplied

An intense desire to escape and change scenery

The allure of international travel remains strong, with a substantial proportion of respondents expressing a keen interest in exploring destinations beyond their borders. Notably, 49 per cent of European and 50 per cent of North Asian travellers wish to embark on international trips this summer, indicating a pent-up demand for cross-border travel experiences.

Behind the overall European figure, significant differences exist inside Europe: while Southern Europe and France favour domestic travel, other countries are eager to cross borders during their holidays.

Ideal destination for summer vacation in 2024 (in %)

Base: All respondents

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Traveller motivations

Prioritising safety

In an era of heightened global uncertainty, safety considerations loom large in travellers' decision-making processes. Across regions, travellers prioritise safety measures and health protocols when planning their trips, with respondents citing safety as a top priority in destination selection for North American, Middle Eastern, Indian, North Asian, and Australian travellers.

"The survey results show that despite the challenges of inflation and political uncertainties, the post covid enthusiasm for travel is still very strong amongst our customers,” Antoine Parisi, Group CEO, Europ Assistance. “At Europ Assistance, our mission is to care for, help and provide peace of mind to our customers at every step of their journey. You Live, We Care is our motto. Moving forward it is crucial for all the travel ecosystem players to continue working together to ensure that travel remains safe, enjoyable and most importantly sustainable.”

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The risk of armed conflict in the destination zone is top among these safety concerns, which has seen a significant uptick of 28 points in Europe. This surge has led to an impressive 49 per cent of Europeans citing it as an "essential" factor. (Note that in 2023, the item specifically mentioned the "war in Ukraine".)

Navigating inflationary pressures

Rising inflation and economic uncertainty continue to pose challenges for travellers, impacting trip planning and budgeting decisions. Despite these constraints, travellers are adapting by seeking cost-effective alternatives and adjusting their spending habits to mitigate the impact of inflation on their travel plans.

Adaptation of travel plans due to inflation context (Yes - %)

Base: travellers who will adapt their plans due to inflation/decrease of purchasing power.

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Balancing travel and environmental concerns

While travellers express a growing awareness of environmental issues, their commitment to sustainable travel practices remains nuanced. While the ecological footprint of travel remains a consideration for only 18 per cent of European travellers when choosing a destination, and travellers may not always prioritise eco-conscious choices in transportation and accommodation, there’s a growing consciousness about environmental impact, and a notable shift towards mindful travel practices. Supporting local economies and minimising waste have become widespread behaviours, with 88 per cent of Europeans and 85 per cent of North Americans actively incorporating these principles into their journeys.

Willingness to adopt sustainable travel practices

Yes (whether people are already doing it or would be ready to do it) (%)

Base : All respondents

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Emerging travel trends

The survey identifies a range of emerging travel trends, including the rise of niche travel segments such as workation, slow tourism, and culinary tours. A quarter of active European travellers intend to embark on a workation this year – defined as the seamless integration of work and vacation, where individuals work remotely from a holiday destination. Interestingly, this trend is even more pronounced in the Middle East (76 per cent), India (75 per cent), and to a lesser extent, in North Asia (44 per cent) and North America (38 per cent).

Base: Active people who plan to go on a trip

Exploring new horizons responsibly

Across continents, the desire for exploration remains strong, but travellers are increasingly mindful of their environmental impact. Sustainable travel practices are gaining traction, with eco-friendly transportation options and responsible tourism initiatives at the forefront of traveller preferences.

According to the Holiday Barometer, 69 per cent of Europeans express interest in slow tourism, a trend characterised by immersive experiences that support local communities and minimise environmental impact. Likewise, 38 per cent are drawn to wellbeing trips/tours, seeking health-focused travel experiences that prioritise relaxation and rejuvenation.

Adventures await: global travel trends

The allure of international travel remains undeniable, with destinations such as Italy, Spain, and France continuing to captivate European travellers. Meanwhile, countries like Japan and Turkey emerge as top choices for travellers from across the globe, reflecting a growing interest in cultural exploration and diverse experiences.

Image Credit: Supplied
Image Credit: Supplied

Survey methodology

The 2024 edition of the Holiday Barometer from Europ Assistance and Ipsos was conducted in 21 countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Australia, Hong-Kong, Japan, Singapore, India, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

In each country, 1,000 consumers aged 18 years and older took part in an online questionnaire. Each sample was put together using the quota method (gender, age, profession) after stratification by region and by city size.

The survey was conducted between March 27th and April 22nd and investigated consumer holiday plans and travel preferences.

To read the full report, click here