According to the 19th Annual Holiday Barometer from Europ Assistance, despite the number of people planning to go away on holiday remaining more or less the same as previous years, some countries are actually decreasing their holiday budgets in 2019.
The 2019 edition of the Barometer was conducted between March and April 2019 in collaboration with Ipso, and it invited 12 countries to take part in the study: the US, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, and Brazil.
Delving a little further, we see that the number of Europeans, Americans and Brazilians who plan to holiday this year has held stable compared with previous years, at 63 per cent for the UK and 68 per cent for both the US and Brazil. However, in Europe, budgets for travel saw a three-per-cent increase in 2019, amounting to an average spend of €2,019. This figure further increased to €2,099 when including only countries that make up the Euro Zone (i.e. omitting the UK, Switzerland and Poland), and an even closer look reveals that this upsurge is driven by France, Spain and Germany, with respondents in each country revealing that their travel budget has increased by up to 10 per cent.
On the other side of the coin, budgets in the US have dropped by almost the same amount: an almost 10-per-cent decrease brings the average down to $2,373. In addition, Brazil, Belgium and the UK all saw three- to five-per-cent decreases in their travel budgets compared to the year prior.
Indeed, these are some interesting figures, and as is usually the case, they reflect some deeper truths around attitudes towards travel. Europ Assistance revealed that, for Americans and Europeans at least, concerns over climate change and being able to take part in leisure and cultural activities drove their impulses for travel, while for Brazilians, risks related to health and terrorist attacks were amongst those factors swaying them towards certain holiday decisions.
Still, overall, terrorism concerns seem to have decreased in Europe (at 42 per cent, down six points from last year), the US (33 per cent, down seven points) and even Brazil (61 per cent, down seven points).
The report also highlighted a preference to stay at a local’s home amongst Americans (28 per cent) and Brazilians (36 per cent), and that 19 per cent of Brazilians were amenable to opening up their homes to travellers, with a further 14 per cent interested in a home swap. A desire to go camping was more prevalent amongst Americans (46 per cent) than Europeans (28 per cent) and Brazilians (22 per cent). And amongst Europeans, respondents from France, Spain, Poland and Portugal were most interested in new kinds of activities.
“This year we’ve seen that, overall, the global situation is stable, the summer holiday remains an important part of life in Europe, the US and Brazil,” said Antoine Parisi, CEO of Europ Assistance. “As an assistance provider, it’s important we monitor both the preferences and concerns of our customers, so if a problem arises, we are ready to deploy our resources to bring them from distress to relief, anytime, anywhere.”
It's good to see assistance companies doing their homework, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s just as important that holidaymakers are encouraged to invest in the right insurance, complete with a network that will direct them to a reliable assistance provider, should they find themselves in an unfortunate situation. Budgeting may well be an important factor in the modern holidaymaker’s plans, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of good coverage; otherwise, as we well know, costs can escalate.