2018 Summer Holiday Plans Among Europeans, Americans and Asians

Europ Assistance releases its 18th annual Barometer on Summer holidays, focusing on Europe's, America's, and the first time Asia's holidays plans. In 2018, summer holiday plans are consolidating in all countries with a stable budget in Europe and the United States while increasing in Brazil. Millennials are disrupting traditional practices giving new strength to alternative lodging and online reviews. Social media are becoming a holidays must-have for Asia, the United States and Brazil while Europeans disconnect more easily.

The author(s)
  • Sarah Duhautois Corporate Reputation, France
  • Flora Baumlin Ipsos Public Affairs, France
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In 2018, summer plans are stable in Europe, the US and Brazil, consolidating the increase measured in 2017

After the increase observed last year, the outlook for Europeans' summer holiday plans this year remains quite high: 64% of them report they will take leave this summer, 1 point above what we measured in 2017. This increase is above the European average in France (69%, +4 pts vs. 2017), which becomes the country with the highest percentage of holidaymakers, 3 points before Austria (66%, stable compared to 2017), Switzerland (stable) and the United Kingdom (+1pt). 63% of Belgians (+3 pts), 62% of Italians (+1 pts), and 61% of Spanish (+3 pts) intend to go on holidays this summer. Poland and Portugal, both surveyed for the first time in 2018, have the lowest share of holidaymakers with 60% of people having holiday plans this summer in Poland and 59% in Portugal.

The phenomenon of stabilization at a high level is even reinforced in the United States and in Brazil, where holiday plans are 2 points higher than last year at 68%.

In Asia, where the barometer is conducted for the first time, proportions are quite the same as in other countries: 67% of the Chinese and 64% of the Indians intend to take a leave this summer.

The proportion of holidaymakers is particularly high among the Millennials: 67% of Europeans under 35 y. o. - and even 70% of those between 18 and 24 y.o. - want to take summer holidays, compared to 63% of elders. In the USA, Brazil and China, we observe the same contrast between Millennials and the elders but in India, it is the contrary: the intent to leave for summer holidays is lower among the younger than among the elders: 59% for Millennials vs. 69% for people above 35 y.o.

After a great decrease last year, the summer holiday duration remains below 2 weeks, except for France, Switzerland and Brazil

The high level of holidaymakers this year goes with a stability in trips duration: it remains below 2 weeks as it was last year. It is in Asia and in the Anglo-saxons countries that the average duration is the lowest: only 1,3 weeks on average in India and China, 1,5 weeks in the USA and 1,6 in UK. On the contrary, Brazil, France and Switzerland record the highest average duration: equal to 2 weeks in the two European countries, and even more in Brazil with 2,2 weeks.

Anticipation of summer holidays booking varies highly across countries

Most Europeans book their summer holidays less than 4 months in advance. However, northern countries anticipate more their summer holidays: for instance, almost half of the British and the Germans (49%) book their holidays more than 4 months in advance. On the contrary, they are much less in the southern countries – about one third only: 35% of the Italians and 33% of the Spanish book their holidays more than 4 months in advance.

Outside Europe, Brazilians anticipate the most their holidays: they are 51% to book them more than 4 months in advance. The United States are following with 46% of Americans booking their summer holidays more than 4 months in advance.

Asians holidaymakers are much more spontaneous: 65% of Indians and 81% of Chinese book their summer holidays less than 4 months in advance.

The average budget remains stable overall, with a few exceptions

In 2018, budget is still the number one decision making factor for Europeans when it comes to choosing a destination, as 52% of them consider it an essential factor. This year, the average budget reported by Europeans for their summer holiday is €1,957.

In the same trend as summer holiday plans and average duration, the average budget is quite stable compared to last year (-2%); hiding some contrasts depending on the country.

The countries with the highest budgets are also those with increasing budgets: Switzerland with 3,235 CHF, +9% (equivalent to €2,710), followed by Austria (€2,645, +9%), Germany (€2,376, +3%), Belgium (€2,318, +6%) and the UK (£1,955, +23% - equivalent to €2,230).

Budgets are more modest in Southern and Eastern Europe: France it as €1,993 with a +1% increase, Italy and Spain are respectively at €1,776, +2% and €1,658, stable, and Portugal and Poland are following with respective budgets of 1370€ and 1030€.

Across the Atlantic, the summer holiday budget for Americans remains quite stable after a decrease last year: $ 2,643, -1% (equivalent to €2,163).  And when it comes to Brazil, the summer holiday budget of Brazilians gains back with an 18% increase what it lost last year, with a budget of R$ 5,209 (equivalent to €1,238).

In Asia, the summer holidays budgets are above the European average: Chinese holidaymakers spend ¥ 15,707 on average (equivalent to €2,035) and Indian holidaymakers spend ₹181,626 (equivalent to €2,234).

Traditional holidays are still the majority: domestic holidays and seaside destination attract most holidaymakers, who mostly pick destinations where they have already been

In 2018, holiday practices are still quite traditional as the vast majority of holidaymakers consider mostly domestic holidays: In Europe, the top destination is always one’s own country, France being the champion – even with a 6pts decrease: 57% of French holidaymakers will go on holidays in France this summer. Spain and Italy are following shortly with respectively 56% and 52% of their holidaymakers staying in the country for the summer. Two countries are the exception and favour neighbour countries: the Belgians prefer to go on holidays in France (34%) rather than in their own country (16%) while the Swiss would rather go to Italy (25%) than staying in Switzerland (20%). 

When it comes to travelling outside of their own country, Europeans keep favouring the same top 3: Spain, France and Italy.

Spain is favoured by the UK (18% of British holidaymakers are intending to go to Spain this summer), France (16%), Portugal (26%), Germany (15%), Poland (9%) and Italy (14%).

Italy is favoured by its neighbouring countries: Switzerland (25%) and Austria (29%), as is France by Spain (12%) and Belgium (34%).

Across the Atlantic, Americans also opt for their own country first (46% of them) as well as Brazilians (33%). In Asia, one’s own country is also the top destination: About one third of the Chinese (32%) and a quarter of the Indians (25%) plan to go on holidays in their own country.

But no matter the destination country, seaside remains the top destination for all interviewed countries, to various levels: 70% of the Italians, 68% of the Chinese, 67% of the Austrians, 65% of the Germans, 64% of the Spanish, 62% of the Swiss, 61% of the French, 59% of the Polish, 58% of the Portuguese, 57% of the Belgians and the British, 50% of the Brazilians 48% of the Indians and 43% of the Americans intend to go on holidays to the seaside this summer.

When asked the reasons motivating the choice of the destination, Europeans holidaymakers are quite conservative as the first reason is that they have already been there. Austrians are the champions with 44% of them making it a choice criteria.

Across the Atlantic, having friends or family there is the first motivation for picking a holiday destination (for 27% of Americans and 21% of Brazilians).

In China, proposed activities prevail for 36% of the holidaymakers and in India recommendation is the first choice criteria (mentioned by 25% of holidaymakers).

… but touring is trending

Even if traditional holidays are the majority with domestic destinations, a preference for seaside and already known places, touring to discover new things is a practice that is gaining ground: this year, 22% of Italians intend to go on a tour, which is a 5pts increase vs last year. It is also quite high among Brazilian holidaymakers (40%), as well as Indian and Chinese ones (respectively 42% and 47%).

Europeans will disconnect more easily from work and social networks than Americans and Asians during their holidays

When it comes to being connected during the holidays – be it to work or to social networks- the attitude of Europeans and non-Europeans vary greatly.

Most Europeans intend to disconnect completely from work during their holidays, especially the British (71% of them) and the French (70% of them), whereas Asians will mostly remain connected to work: 60% of the Chinese and of the Indians will not disconnect from work.

When it comes to social networking, Europeans will also mostly change their habits and use them less than usual. 56% of them declare they will use less the general social networks such as Facebook and 54% declare they will use less the photo sharing networks such as Instagram.

On the contrary, most Americans, Brazilians and Asians declare they will use social networks the same or more than usual during their holidays. For instance, 69% of the Chinese intend to use the same or more general social networks and 78% intend to use the same or more photo sharing networks.

Alternative lodging and online reviews: Millennials are driving new travel practices

Once again this year, holidaymakers express a strong enthusiasm towards unusual accommodations and experiences.

This tendency is even more important among the Millennials. They are particularly attracted by immersive and authentic housing solutions like private houses/apartments rentals, which allow them to embrace the local way of life. 59% of the European and the American Millennials (vs 46% and 38% in the general population), 58% of the Brazilian Millennials (vs 52% in the general population) and 55% of the Indian Millennials (vs 48% in the general population) are interested in this practice.

When choosing their holiday activities, they are also more sensitive to new environmental and cultural experiences: This is particularly the case among the European, American and Indian Millennials, as respectively 59% (vs 53% in the general population), 83% (vs 67%) and 81% (vs 70%) of them already tried at least one atypical activity (such as primitive camping, taking part in solidarity tourism or going on an ecological trip).

As they are important social media users, Millennials also tend to post more online reviews after their holiday about the services they used (hotels, restaurants, airlines, …). This habit is mostly popular in Asia: 96% of the Chinese and 95% of the Indians (vs 93% and 92% in the general population) post reviews.

The dream holidays: a collective imagination

Holidaymakers share a common vision of their dream holidays and of the cities they would like to visit at least once in their life.

Europeans, Americans and Asians consider New York, Paris and London as part of the top 4 locations they wish to travel to someday.

In addition to these common idealized cities, European and Americans also dream of visiting Rome, while the 3 remaining countries, that are quite vast, include cities from their own country in their top destinations: Brazilians mention Rio de Janeiro in fourth position, the Chinese mention Beijing in second position and Indians mention New Delhi in fourth position.

When it comes to country image, Europeans and Americans often share the same vision. Other nationalities mostly choose their own country as the most representative of the different topics:

When it comes to landscapes and nature most countries share the same country list. Thailand (for European, Americans and Chinese) and India (for Brazilians and Indians) are considered the most exotic, when Australia (for Europeans and Americans) and South Africa (for Brazilians and Indians) are considered the wildest.

Outside of Europe, France is seen as the most romantic country (by Americans, Brazilians and Asians) but within Europe, it is Italy which is deemed the most romantic country.

Italy is also considered as the country with the best heritage by Europeans and Americans (most culturally rich, with the best food and the most historical), when holidaymakers from the 3 other countries (Brazilians, Indians and Chinese) favor their own country on these topics.

Finally, when it comes to the atmosphere of a country (the most relaxing, the most welcoming, and the cheapest to visit) holidaymakers are rather considering their own country as the most relevant.

Brexit may have an impact on the consideration to visit

47% of Europeans would reconsider visiting the UK if Brexit resulted in a situation where a visa and longer security measures were imposed at the border. The Spanish (56%) and Portuguese (54%) show the strongest preference to reconsider but also the French (47%), Germans (45%) and Italians (45%) show concern. Conversely only 34% of British nationals would reconsider visiting Europe.

Summer holiday plans among Europeans, Americans and Asians - Infographic

Conducted by Ipsos at the request of Europ Assistance on a sample of 16,000 individuals in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, United Kingdom, Switzerland and, for the first time this year, Poland and Portugal), in Asia (India and China, both for the first time this year) and in America (United States and Brazil), the aim of this reference survey – carried out by Internet and published for the 18th year running – is to offer an annual estimate of the holiday plans of the citizens of the countries in question, in addition to their motivations, destinations and preferred types of trip.
The author(s)
  • Sarah Duhautois Corporate Reputation, France
  • Flora Baumlin Ipsos Public Affairs, France

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