Although many people are worried about their finances, interest in travelling abroad has risen in 2023. This is the key finding of a recent study conducted by Claudia Bauer-Krösbacher and Markus Eitle from the Institute of Tourism, Wine Business and Marketing at IMC Krems University of Applied Sciences (IMC Krems). The study was published on behalf of Corps Touristique Austria.
The willingness to travel among the Austrian population (aged 18 and over) has increased once again year on year, with fully 87% of respondents reporting that they planned to go on vacation in 2023. 72% of them said that they were thinking about travelling abroad for their holidays. Of those people who indicated that they were not planning to travel abroad, the coronavirus pandemic only played a minor role on their thinking. The survey found that financial concerns were the main reason for not travelling to another country. The top five foreign holiday destinations remained unchanged: Italy, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Greece.
A holiday on the beach or next to the water is still the number one choice of foreign holiday for Austrians, followed by city breaks, wellness vacations and cultural tourism. Demand for package holidays has also risen significantly. As far as timing is concerned, most trips in 2023 are planned for the high season in summer time, with holidays in April and above all May growing in popularity. The busiest months for holidays abroad are likely to be September, August, June and July. Car travel was once again the most popular form of transport to the destination, although the number of people using this mode dropped year on year. The survey found slight increases in the popularity of air and coach travel. Austrians still prefer to go on holiday with their partner, family and friends.
Four-star hotels are still the most popular type of accommodation, while the number of holidaymakers choosing apartments and private accommodation is expected to fall slightly in 2023. This could be due to the considerable drop in concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Austrians holidaying abroad still expect some Covid-19-related measures at their destination, such as free hand sanitiser, information about Covid-19 regulations and guidelines, as well as hygiene and quality labels. Rest and relaxation, peace and quiet, sunshine, the beach and the sea were the most important ideas that Austrians associate with their ideal holiday, and the main reasons for travelling abroad in 2023, alongside food and drink, culture and experiencing other cities.
The main considerations when choosing a destination are cleanliness and hygiene, value for money, friendliness, safety, weather and climate. Recommendations from friends or family are still the most important source of information when making plans, followed by service providers’ websites (e.g. hotels and airlines) and travel platforms. Booking platforms and direct bookings are still the most commonly used channels for organising foreign travel. Booking.com is the most frequently used online booking platform, with 92% of respondents booking their holidays there. Compared with last year, Austrians’ estimated total travel budget as well as the budget for their main vacation have increased slightly.
Sustainability has taken on an increasingly important role in Austrians’ travel plans over the past five to ten years. Travellers attach great importance to regional and seasonal cuisine, waste separation and recycling, and responsible use of natural resources at the destination. The main concerns and fears related to travel planning – presumably in view of the current geopolitical and economic situation – are rising inflation and energy prices, as well as doubts over political stability and safety at the destination. Austrian respondents were asked to share their views on the European Capital of Culture initiative for the first time this year. 29% said that they were familiar with the project, while 11% said they would be interested in considering it in their travel plans.
The survey shows that demand for travel in general, and for trips abroad in particular, has risen once again. In contrast to the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic is now less of a factor in people’s thinking. However, the affordability of their trip is a major concern for Austrian holidaymakers. The survey participants said that rest, relaxation and a chance to recharge their batteries – preferably at the water’s edge – were the main reasons for going on holiday.