Ukraine-Russia war impacts international travel plans of Americans

The outlook for US spring and summer international travel seemed good. The travel industry, hit hard by the pandemic, had been steadily making gains over the past year. High vaccination rates, falling COVID infections, international quarantines dropping and the end of many mask mandates made it look like 2022 would be the year international travel returned.

Then the invasion of Ukraine happened. The war, creating death, destruction, and millions of refugees, has shocked the world.

While Kyiv isn’t Paris and Moscow isn’t Madrid, the war in Europe has apparently put millions of potential travelers into a holding pattern. Higher fuel prices, fewer flights, higher airfares and a plunging stock market don’t help either.

A new study by MMGY Travel Intelligence looks at how the war in Ukraine is impacting US traveler sentiment and behavior. MMGY found that the war in Ukraine is now twice as likely as COVID-19 to impact Americans’ vacation plans to Europe. The study interviewed hundreds of US travelers planning to visit Europe, with the most popular destinations being Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

· 62% of U.S. travelers cited concerns about the war in Ukraine spreading to nearby countries as a factor impacting plans to travel to Europe, twice the number (31%) who cited COVID-19 health and safety concerns.

· 47% of travelers want to wait and see how the situation in Ukraine evolves before making plans to visit Europe this year.

· 50% of respondents said they were concerned about possible delays and cancellations of flights, trains, and cruises, as well as the potential for border closures.

MMGY Global CEO Clayton Reid said, “Much like at the height of the Omicron variant, we can’t predict how the situation may escalate; but travelers should feel confident in booking because of the flexible policies most airlines, hotels and OTAs introduced in response to COVID-19. It is also my belief that this hesitancy is short-lived and that prior to the peak travel season to Europe, sentiment will return to much more positive levels.”

Similarly, Tim Hentschel, Co-Founder & CEO, HotelPlanner, said, “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Fortunately, we don’t anticipate the Russia/Ukraine conflict to impact the strong travel recovery we’re seeing across the U.S. and greater Europe. About 90% of Americans still plan to travel in the next six months.”

But will the violence and uncertainty drive Americans to another summer of domestic travel? The international picture appears cloudy, to say the least. (Source: Forbes)

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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