Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t made a major dent on Americans’ European vacation plans to Rome or Paris, although they are less keen to make new bookings, a report said.
The major impact understandably is to countries that border the conflict zone, a travel agency said. Cruises to St Petersburg are off for the moment too.
Flight searches dropped in February amid a notable rise in airfares, the report said.
„Those just considering booking are more hesitant. They’re not going make a new booking to Europe,” said Adit Damodaran, a pricing analyst at travel app Hopper told CNBC.
“Travelers not taking planned European trips are postponing rather than booking alternate destinations, said Damodaran. “In a more normal year, Europe would be about 30%, or almost one-third, of our bookings [and] it’s now about 15%.” he said.
But one agency said Americans are keen as ever to visit Europe.
Jennifer Griscavage, founder of Runway Travel, an independent affiliate of McLean, Virginia-based McCabe World Travel, has been “very busy booking European travel” despite the war in Ukraine.
“The biggest impact we have seen is concern about traveling to any of the countries that share a border with Russia or the Ukraine,” she said, in particular by clients booking a “bucket list” trip to the Russian port city of St. Petersburg as part of a Baltic Sea cruise.
“Unfortunately, cruise lines have had to cancel stops in St. Petersburg (so) most of our clients have moved these sailings to 2023,” she added.
The news isn’t great for destinations near the conflict zone or bordering either Russia or Ukraine, such as Romania, Poland or Finland.
The European Travel Commission in Brussels said the Czech Republic saw an 81% fall in arrivals last year compared to 2019, followed by Finland, at -80%, Latvia at -78%.