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Most Europeans planning summer holidays, survey says

Date: 23.03.2009

About 48 per cent of Europeans intend spending their holidays in their own countries this year, about five per cent higher than in 2008.

This emerges from a new survey done by Gallup, the results of which were released by the European Commission on March 20 2009.

The survey was done among 27 randomly selected citizens aged 15 and over, who were interviewed in February 2009 in the 27 EU member states.

According to the survey, most people can finance holidays.

"About four in 10 citizens who are planning to take a holiday in 2009 felt they will have sufficient funds (41  per cent), while almost as many (40  per cent) said that they would need to prioritise in their expenditures, but could still afford to go. One in 10 (11 per cent) said, they have serious financial problems that could have an impact on their holiday plans."

A statement about the survey said that "only 19 per cent" of those polled were certain that they would not travel in 2009.

This, the statement said, was "significantly below" the proportion of non-travellers in 2008 (32  per cent).

Twenty-eight per cent of EU citizens were still undecided about their type of holiday, (both duration and destination).

The number of people who were organising their main holiday themselves in 2009 was increasing to 56 per cent where internet is an often used method.

According to the survey, Europeans preferred to spend their holidays in traditional tourist destinations (54  per cent), while 28 per cent would rather go "off the beaten track" to emerging destinations.

Popular destinations were Spain, Italy, France and Greece. Spain, which was chosen by 14 per cent, was already most popular in 2008 and also dominated the current plans made for 2009. It is closely followed by Italy (11.9 per cent) and France (11.1 per cent).

Thirty-one per cent of EU citizens indicated that "local attractiveness" was the major reason when choosing holiday destinations, followed by cultural heritage (24  per cent) and entertainment possibilities (15 per cent).

"However, the weather also seems to play a role since half of the EU citizens take holidays in July and August, and 42 per cent indicate that they would first give up winter holidays if their finances were not sufficient to meet their total holiday plans."

Twenty-three per cent said they would save money by travelling during the low season.

The EC media statement quoted European Commission Vice-President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise and Industry, as saying "The results are very encouraging and confirm the robustness of the European tourism industry. I am happy that most citizens can afford holidays and will enjoy the deserved rest."


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