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Top travel trends in Europe 2023

Top travel trends in Europe 2023

2023 officially kicked off with very good news for the tourism industry. After the positive performance of travels in 2022, UNWTO expects international arrivals to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, depending on the economic pace, the evolution of geopolitical issues such as the war in Ukraine and the recovery of tourism in Asia and the Pacific region.

But don't get it wrong. This is, by no means, a fairy tale scenario. Destinations are more eager than ever to work harder to attract tourists, while travel and hospitality companies are already reshaping the market by developing new products and increasing their efficiency through the latest technology. Meanwhile, travellers will continue to seek value for money as they look for and demand for brand-new experiences.

Let's dive into some of the most relevant trends and insights we gathered in our January 2023 survey so you can prepare yourself and your team to surf this wave.

1. Savvy consumers

Almost 50% of European travellers are planning to spend the same budget as 2022 for their holidays, while between 8 and 11% - depending on the market - will spend more. Whether it's luxury, mid-budget or low-budget travel, people will be looking and working to get the best value for money: comparing prices and benefits of the same services on different channels and platforms, choosing loyalty programs and apps that help them get the most out of their budget and enhance their experiences, such as passes for transportation, attractions and discounts in stores.

When having to deal with accommodation, this trend favours independent over chain hotels, commonly a bit more expensive and more crowded. No surprise that the world 10 most downloaded OTA´s apps by the end of 2022 were Booking, Arbnb, Expedia, Agoda, Vrbo, Hopper, Skycanner, Hotels, Trip and Trivago, and travel wise we can also find Where is my Train and Flightradar24.

To be more specific, 23.8% of French travellers, 28.6% of Italians, 36.6% of Finns, and 39.7% of Norwegians will book flights and accommodation via different online platforms. When it comes to transport, French (16.5%), Swedish (18.7%) and Norwegians (18.7) show a strong tendency to book directly via transportation sites in comparison to other markets. Booking accommodation directly via the accommodation website ranks high among Germans with 40.2% choosing this option, although they also go for booking packages via travel agency site (24.8%).
General research european markets

2. New Sustainable consumption

This 2023 sustainable concern among travellers, with 75% wanting to choose this kind of experience, will shift to more concrete ways of caring for the planet. They will be willing to consider paying more for sustainable travel options, but they will mostly remain reluctant to do it if the value-price is not crystal clear.

New concerns are found with measuring and offsetting the carbon footprint of travel (with 8.9% of European travellers), alternative forms of travel such as rail versus air when it is possible, chosen by 22% of travellers, road trips in electric cars and the inclusion of experiences or activities in destinations that support local communities, being chosen by 11.5%. The same is true in the luxury segment, where about three-quarters of travellers are willing to pay more for more sustainable travel, according to a Virtuoso survey.

14.2% of Germans, 13.1% of Spanish and 12.6% of Frenchs choose to stay in eco-friendly accommodation as their third most important consideration regarding sustainable consumption, but if your public is German, Nordic or Dutch, you should be considering CO2 emissions compensation instead, as this topic ranks third in priority for them – for average 10% of travellers.
General research european markets
3. Inspiration battlefield

Will people continue to look for inspiration in the same places as before? Although travelers over 40 still prefer "traditional" sources of inspiration when making decisions, such as friends and family, representing 55.1% of travelers, the trend of looking to digital media and sources continues to grow: online review sites, online travel agencies, travel company websites.

Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and TikTok are among the top three preferred sources of travel ideas, but TikTok will undoubtedly increase its market share, as younger generations prioritize this app over Google for regular searches and reviews of products and services. Virtual communities of travelers, short or hyper-brief video content and live-streaming hubs (such as the one recently launched by are also starting to emerge on the horizon, so we strongly recommend that you keep a close eye on this trend.
4. Cultural cities and top destinations

Nature is a strong motivator, but visits to cities around the world have made a sprint in the past year, with arrivals up 58% by the end of 2022. Well-known countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal (countries with a strong cultural offer: art, architecture and history) will continue to top European travelers' preferences, but smaller countries such as Scotland and Austria continue to grow.
Planning a trip to big cities together with cultural experiences is among the main four types of holidays Europeans are planning to have in 2023. Norwegians seem to have a soft spot for them, with 40.3% thinking of traveling to large metropolitan areas and 27% wanting to take cultural vacations. Danish (34.1%), Swedish (32.1%), Germans (34.6%) and Italians (28.3%) are also strong on this kind of trip. The only market that showed a significant decrease was Spain, with 12.4% fewer people interested in visiting big cities but with a strong trend in enjoying cultural holidays (43.3%).

Based on bookings for 2023, Ctrip searches in China after the reopening and TripAdvisor's traveler rankings, these are the most desired destinations. In Europe, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. In the Middle East, Turkey, UAE and Saudi Arabia. In Asia, India, China, South Korea and Japan, while in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam stand out. In the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
5. Luxury reaches new heights

Luxury travel is stronger than ever. Within this traveler segment, travel budgets are starting to increase and we see a marked 10.7% growth in luxury suite/villa bookings. However, the most chosen type of accommodation continues to be the Luxury Hotel (5+*).

Importantly, 94.9% of these travelers prefer to fly first class/business class, a trend that continues in relation to 2022.

Credit cards and airlines will be more restrictive in the conditions of access to airport lounges to avoid crowded spaces, while luxury brand hotels are launching luxury yacht services.


Trends aren't set in stone, but they're not guesses either. Trends are waves to surf and take advantage of. These are early signs of future majority behaviors and developments that are not only based on observations but on data and insights. They mark a new era and each one comes with a different and personal style. The more detailed, the better for making smarter strategic and tactical decisions for your business or your destination.

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