As the world recovers from the pandemic and travel restrictions ease, European summer travel is on the rise. According to reports from Adara, RateGain, Key Data, and Expedia, the European travel industry has impressively rebounded in the first quarter of 2023 and is expected to continue growing throughout the year, reaching pre-pandemic levels by year-end. In this article, we will explore the top European destinations and travel trends for summer 2023, based on insights from these trusted travel data sources.
Whether you are a business traveler or seeking a leisurely escape to explore the beautiful continent, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of where to go and what to expect when traveling to Europe this summer.
1. Explosive growth in bookings in Europe — and globally.
The European travel market has impressively recovered in the first quarter of 2023 and is expected to grow by 20% throughout the year, reaching pre-pandemic levels by year-end, with popular European destinations already surpassing pre-COVID travel levels.
The resurgence of business travel and the sustained demand for leisure travel have resulted in the revival of domestic and regional travel in Europe. High demand for leisure travel from the US, with the strong USD increasing purchasing power, has also contributed to this growth.
The average daily rate (ADR) has risen by 13.2% YoY in Europe, from €125.17 to €141.64. On May 24th, 2023, Key Data reported a 16% global increase in Q2 stays in the short-term rental industry, with a 15.9% annual increase in the number of nights booked compared to the same period last year.
On the other hand, Expedia’s annual report shows that 81% of travelers worldwide have pledged to travel in 2023, and hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals such as Airbnb and Vrbo are the top three types of accommodations that travelers are most likely to book.
2. Business travel is booming.
Business travel is recovering with many companies keen to resume face-to-face meetings and build relationships with clients. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in demand for business travel in major cities and nature-bound settings.
The rise of remote work has also contributed to the growth in business travel. People are eager to meet in person and travel to events, conferences, and business meetings while extending their time in the destinations. In 2023, many property owners have seen an increase in the trend of turning business trips into leisure travel by staying in Airbnb, vacation rentals, and other short-term rental properties that offer convenient, modern luxuries like kitchens, outdoor spaces, fast WIFI, and multiple rooms.
The post-pandemic world has also brought about changes in traveler preferences and demands. Travelers are increasingly bringing their pets, which is now one of the top-searched filters on booking sites. Additionally, guests are seeking more remote places for their travels.
3. Significant travel insights for summer 2023
Adara and RateGain have uncovered key insights through their access to billions of data points from more than 300 trusted partners. The data reveals that the US is contributing the highest intercontinental leisure travel bookings in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), and also has the highest number of searches made for most EMEA destinations.
France, the UK, Spain, Portugal, and Germany show a high surge in exchange of travelers, while Denmark and Sweden have high leisure demand for European destinations. Germany emerges as an important business destination for EMEA, while couples prefer traveling to Spain, Italy, France, and Greece.
As for family travel in Europe, Italy, Fransce, and Greece are the top origins contributing to this demand. These insights demonstrate the varied and specific preferences of different traveler groups, both for leisure and business travel.
4. The top 10 Europe destinations for summer 2023 — Portugal takes the crown.
According to RateGain’s International Inbound Flight Bookings for June-Aug’23, Portugal has emerged as the most-visited destination in Europe for summer 2023, climbing up three places.
Spain lost its position to Portugal, which has become the most economically viable destination in 2023.
Italy is third on the list, while the UK has seen a rise in the post-COVID period and is in fourth position. France is in fifth place, while Greece, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Ireland complete the top 10 overall list.
Wrapping up, Portugal has become a lucrative destination for business with its economic viability, and it also claimed the crown for top leisure destination, with Spain. Both Portugal and Spain are top destinations for both business and leisure, with Italy coming in at third in all sectors.
5. Top 10 European Cities for Summer 2023 (by international arrivals)
Lisbon is the top leisure travel destination, attracting tourists from Europe as well as the Americas. Lisbon has also surpassed some of the most popular destinations in Europe in terms of international arrivals this summer, serving as a center for business meetings and a hub for traveling to other leisure destinations in Portugal.
London comes next, with a high number of arrivals from the US, and Paris has the third highest international arrivals expected in summer 2023.
In conclusion, this summer looks to be an exciting and bustling season for European travel, with countries like Portugal, Spain, and Italy emerging as some of the most popular and economically viable destinations.
With this guide as a starting point, you can plan your trip knowing that you will be able to make the most of your time in Europe.
Whether you are looking for popular destinations or off-the-beaten-path locations, Europe has something to offer everyone. Enjoy!