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Extreme weather events are now the #1 concern of 14% of European travelers
31 January 2024

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This trend favors cooler destinations - but hotel capacity will be a limiting factor

Extreme weather events are now the #1 concern of 14% of European travelers

As 2024 summer holiday planning season looms, the European Travel Commission - as well as tour operators and hoteliers - is concerned that the heat waves and wildfires that have plagued southern European destinations in 2023 could result in a shift to cooler destinations this year.

The Financial Times reports that price/earnings ratios of major tour operators continue to lag behind 2019 levels.

For the first time in 2023, cooler destinations like Iceland and the Nordics were among the fastest-growing countries in terms of year-over-year arrival numbers.

% Change in 2023 Arrivals vs. 2019:

  1. Albania 53%
  2. Andorra 31%
  3. Liechtenstein 16%
  4. Iceland 15%
  5. Serbia 15%
  6. Portugal 11%
  7. Montenegro 10%
  8. Denmark 8%
  9. Malta 8%
  10. Turkey 7%

But cooler destinations have far lower hotel capacity vs., e.g., Italy, which has about 1.1M rooms available.

Hotel capacities of cooler destinations:

  1. Sweden 300K rooms
  2. Norway 200K
  3. Belgium 200K
  4. Ireland 150K
  5. Finland 100K
  6. Denmark 70K

As of 2024 there's not yet enough more demand for cool-weather destinations to justify significant investment in hotel expansion. Many services won't be available in shoulder seasons. And the higher costs of trips to these countries is a further deterrent to a massive shift in travel plans.

But if extreme summer hot weather conditions continue in Europe, the trend toward cooler destinations could pick up momentum.

Stay tuned.

David Boggs President/CEO ACRO Global|Publisher Tourism Marketer
David H. Boggs
ACRO Global

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