Summer 2021 was earmarked to be the summer when European operators could start generating some much-needed income. However, many travellers have remained hesitant and the anticipated boom in travel may not occur to such a large extent. With mounting financial pressure and travel restrictions still in place, many travellers are likely to remain reluctant to travel abroad this summer.

Many European countries have been experiencing delays in vaccination rollout and are falling behind targets as a result. Coupled with the looming reality that there will be several restrictions still in place, consumer confidence to travel abroad this summer will still be reduced. Restrictions are likely to vary across Europe with some countries adopting stringent entry requirements whilst others may have very little. Summer 2021 looks set to be a staycation paradise with a limited return to inter-European travel.

Summer travel will still be restricted

Restriction-free travel this summer is unlikely. With a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in many parts of Europe, travel will remain on the back-burner for many consumers and stringent restrictions will persist.

A poll conducted by GlobalData has shown that 55%* of respondents said that travel restrictions are the second biggest deterrent to travel. Given the rising case numbers and slowdown in the rollout of vaccines in Europe, this summer will still be weighed down with a vast number of travel restrictions – from testing requirements to quarantine measures- which will further push travellers to delay travel plans. Operators will be left with the prospect of ever-changing restrictions this summer and recovery will be prolonged.

Testing costs remain a deterrent

With many countries, such as the UK and Croatia, requiring a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, the cost and access to tests will remain one of the biggest travel deterrents.

Cash-strapped travellers may not be able to afford the required tests – which may exceed the price of low-cost flights. GlobalData’s latest COVID-19 consumer survey revealed that 87%** of respondents were concerned about their financial position. Therefore, for travel to recommence on a large scale, the costs of tests must be as low as possible. If costs are high, demand will remain suppressed and the travel sector’s recovery will be extended.

Until Europe gains a grip on its rising case rates and the vaccine begins to suppress fatalities, international travel will remain off the cards for many. This summer looks geared up to face the same challenges as 2020, with staycations leading the way. Travellers are likely to be in a worse financial position than they were last year, and testing will remain one of the biggest short-term challenges. With no quick fix for these problems, this summer’s potential travel boom could be anticlimactic for the European travel sector.


* GlobalData Live Tracker Verdict Poll of 1,310 respondents. Live since 17th November 2020.

**Data taken from GlobalData’s survey of 5,766 global respondents- Fieldwork undertaken 2–6 December 2020. ‘Extremely’, ‘quite’ and ‘slightly’ responses combined.

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