Travelling local is travelling safe: new booking preferences setting a new tourism scenario

Last summer Europe lived the so-called balcony experience: as Coronavirus seemed to slow down its race for the season, people decided to travel and chose their own Country as holiday destination.  

As Eurostat data show, domestic tourism proved to be more resilient. In the figure below, it is possible to observe that, at a European level, domestic overnights nights started to recover earlier than international overnights, with just 12% fewer nights spent in August 2020 compared with the same month in 2019. 

Eurostat, in fact, highlights that domestic tourism partially helps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on EU tourism as, like in June 2020, most of EU Countries will start limiting again the travel restrictions imposed after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Italian Central Statistics Institute recorded that, in Italy, domestic overnights last summer reached almost 87% of the total overnights registered in 2019, while foreign tourists overnights only reached 40%. As we have already reportedstaycations are likely to be the driving sector this year, as it happened in 2019. Outdoor activities have been the main driver, and several players are working in this area to support more professional management and digitalisation, especially in the booking and purchasing stages. 

This year, vaccines against Covid-19 are expected to impact international travel, but domestic tourism will be once again the main recovering segment, Bloomberg reports.
In a recent report, Airbnb stated that big cities like Toronto, New York and London (main destinations in 2019 to Airbnb) will no longer be the preferred travel destinations. As restrictions eased over the summer in 2020, in fact, smaller destinations were high in demand, and this trend is expected to continue this year. It is in fact also underlined that 56% of people expected to travel this year will prefer local and low-profile destinations. 

At Twissen we observed that a change in booking preferences is now happening: since the pandemic outbreak, people prefer to book close to their travel dates, travelling at most 500km away from home, wanting to travel with their loved ones (as families or group of friends) and underlining a need to spend more time in contact with other people and nature. Strong marketing strategies, mainly online due to the digitalisation process, based on local markets and fares planned for groups, will help the tourism tumultuous recovery. 

Author: Martina Baldo
She graduated in Intercultural Development of Tourism Systems and she has a passion for foreign languages and cultures. Since 2016 she works as administration and tourism project manager at Twissen.

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