The Summer of 2020 will be etched in history as the year travel leaders and governments didn’t listen and missed opportunities to assist the fragile travel eco-system in Europe. The dime a dozen countries, who brazenly chose a different approach, were the only ones to slightly benefit of a very sunny Summer which was overall, in the negative.

The Impact of On/Off Travel Restrictions

There is no room for surprise that in destinations where travel restrictions were lifted, there was a boom in flight searches and on-the-spot last-minute flight bookings. And vice-versa.

Southern European nations were the pioneers in re-opening their borders. However, some did the “Meet & Greet” better than others. Yes, it’s you Portugal that shines while your neighbour, Spain was troubled with quarantines.

ECM-webinar-1Lisbon climbed the ladder board in popularity, climbing from 10th position to number 5 this year. However, the top summer destinations this year saw a few classics drop into an abyss (Rome, London and Barcelona) while a few dark horses galloped ahead: Palma de Mallorca and the Greek island of Crete, Heraklion.

Travel Corridors & Cheap Flights

Eastern Europe (-89% in international arrivals) performed a fraction better than Northern Europe (-94.6% in international arrivals) this summer, with some destinations staying ahead by teaming up with interesting bedfellows. Take the instance of Croatia.

Croatia has been a popular summer destination for many. However, the EU’s approach to non-aligned travel rules meant that the government thought outside of the box for new travel agreements. They were one of the few European nations to allow US citizens to fly in – which to a degree kept them afloat this year.

ECM-webinar-2Early travel agreements between Germany and the Balearic Islands meant that Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca were saved from an empty season too.

The other element that aided the movement of travellers this summer was the enticing air deals with airlines still flying, especially the inter-regional connections as Germans, French and Dutch were still keen to fly.

ECM-webinar-3What’s on the horizon for Europe?

As most people’s summer holidays were left in tatters due to the travel limitations, the desire for sun and sand is still strong, even for Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. And the winner is… Tenerife!

Looking at the most recent Flight Search data provided by Skyscanner, the most searched for destinations are in the Canary Islands with Tenerife in star position in both quarters. Lanzarote is also a popular option.

ECM-webinar-4However, upon inspecting where German and French travellers are searching for in Q4, it’s the polar opposite. They are keen for an urban escape in Rome between September and December. Maybe it’s because the Germans were one of the few able to soak up some sunshine on the Balearic Islands?

All up, the do’s and don’ts are quite obvious. People do want to travel, they don’t want their travel plans complicated by quarantines and less daily flights. Governments take note.


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