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Russian-Ukrainian war seems to have limited impact on tourist bookings in Europe, experts say

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A travel app has seen a decline in flight searches for the mainland since February, along with a noticeable increase in air fares. However, a travel adviser says he has not noticed any drop in interest in European bookings from his clients.

Jennifer Griscavage, the founder of an independent subsidiary of McCabe World Travel in McLean, Virginia, was “very busy booking European travel” despite the war in Ukraine.

“The biggest impact I’ve noticed is the concern about traveling to any of the countries bordering Russia or Ukraine,” she said, especially for customers booking a stopover tour of the city. Russian port St. Petersburg as part of a Baltic Sea cruise.

“Unfortunately, cruise lines have had to cancel stops in St. Petersburg, and most of our customers have moved to 2023,” she added.

Destinations near the conflict zone have suffered heavy declines in the past due to the pandemic

This news is not great for destinations near the conflict zone or on the border with Russia or Ukraine, as they have already suffered heavy declines in the number of visitors due to the pandemic, according to the European Travel Commission in Brussels.

The Czech Republic saw a 81% drop in arrivals last year compared to 2019, followed by Finland with -80%, Latvia with -78%, Estonia with -77%, Slovakia with -76% and Lithuania with -74%. according to the Commission.

However, the picture may be more promising for more western destinations.

Despite “slight concerns”, Europe is still an attractive destination for Runway Travel’s well-off customers.

“Italy, Greece and France in particular are very popular,” Griscavage said.

Audrey Hendley, president of Global Travel and Lifestyle Services at American Express, said that while the affected areas are not major destinations for customers, the company equals its members’ card donations and donated $ 1 million for relief efforts. 1 million hotel nights to support refugees.

“These are not big destinations for us. However, every destination is important; every customer is important, ”she said.

What is the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine on travel?

Hopper researchers have reported an impact on search, booking and airfare across Europe in the weeks leading up to and after Russia’s February 24 attack on Ukraine.

According to their report, “What is the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine on travel?” omicron.

Bookings began to rise from January to mid-February as Omicron declined, but have now returned to levels seen earlier this year.

“It simply came to our notice then. Searches had grown at a certain rate, but now they have narrowed down and leveled below the level we would have expected, “said Adit Damodaran, a price analyst.

The invasion seems to have had less of an impact on existing transatlantic reservations than Covid did.

“In a more normal year, Europe would account for about 30%, or almost a third, of our bookings, and now it’s about 15%.” he said.

Flight searches and actual bookings may be declining, but fares have increased

Tariffs to Europe are 16% higher from month to month. It may seem like a lot, but according to Damodaran, the price of aircraft fuel has risen by 70% in 2021 following the pandemic – and then by 30% again in the first three months of this year alone, reaching $ 2.86 per gallon. , from $ 2.20, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

“The magnitude of what we have seen since the beginning of 2022 has been huge. We expect the increase in aircraft fuel prices to appear on airline tickets, “he said.

In other words, US domestic air fares have risen by 36% since January 1.

“We usually expect it to be closer to 7% to 8% in a more normal year, like 2019,” Damodaran said.

Carriers usually bear part of the cost of more expensive fuel for aircraft “because it ultimately affects the willingness of passengers to pay”.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its impact on global energy markets could worsen an already poor state of affairs.

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