Journese: Europe 2023 Trending 25 Percent Above 2022

Journese, the luxury travel provider for Pleasant Holidays, has released it 2023-24 program for Europe. We caught up with Amy Comparato, senior brand director for Journese, to find out what’s trending and how consumer travel behavior influenced the company’s latest program. Bottom line? Europe remains fiercely popular with luxury travelers and that pattern shows no signs of abating. The overall advice is to book now to get premium offerings and to take note of special events in Europe that could create capacity issues in certain cities.

What happened in Europe this summer in terms of client demands? 

Europe became exponentially more popular once COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines were lifted, including the no-testing requirement to enter the U.S. It continues to be a key destination for the discerning traveler. The exchange rate for the euro and British pound to the U.S. dollar near parity makes Europe a great value compared to prior years.  

Europe travel sales for November 2022 are up over 100 percent compared to 2019 with December 2022 trending 75 percent above 2019 levels as typical Europe seasonal travel patterns were disrupted by the pandemic.  

Regarding tourism trends, food and wine tours have gained popularity, as have hands-on experiences, such as making pasta or bread. Tours visiting small medieval towns or typical villages are always popular, and Tuscany offers some great options. We are also experiencing a surge in bookings for Europe river and ocean cruises as cruise lines resume operations and cruise ports fully reopened in 2022.

Were clients looking to avoid the big cities and go to different areas?

While the majority of our travel advisors have clients traveling to the big cities such as Rome, London, Paris, Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam, we do see that many repeat visitors want to go to less densely populated areas across Europe. High-speed luxury train transportation increased on Eurostar roundtrip from England to France, Amsterdam and Brussels. The high-speed Trenitalia trains in Italy connecting Rome to Florence, Venice, Milan and other Italian cities are popular.

Are clients spending more?  

Yes, the average Europe vacation package spend is 31 percent higher for 2023 compared to 2019.

Are they staying longer?

In 2016, the average length of stay was 6.13 nights, in 2019 it was 6.50 nights, in 2022, it is 6.81 nights and, in 2023/November 2022 YTD, it is 8.21, which suggests a longer length of stay next year.

Is 2023 selling out?

We are currently trending about 25 percent higher for Europe 2023 travel compared to same time period for 2022 travel. Greece is booking exceptionally strong for 2023 as we increased our product portfolio to 80-plus hotels on its islands.  

While no Europe destinations are sold out as of today, we are seeing high demand for peak travel periods, such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Travelers interested in visiting Europe in 2023 should confirm hotel reservations and flights now to lock rates as prices are beginning to increase for next year. 

A significant number of travelers are booking business class and premium economy transatlantic flights for 2023, which will drive fares higher as we move into 2023.

Europe is hosting large events in 2023 such as the Paris Air Show in June with some hotels already sold-out or near capacity. We forecast significant growth in Europe sales for 2023 based upon these current trends.

Are there markets that are being requested more so than last year?  

Greece has moved into our top five Europe destinations for 2023 due to our addition of 30 new hotels in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.

Portugal is becoming more popular, including Douro River cruises. We are adding hotels in Madeira Island, Portugal, due to requests from travel advisors.

We are seeing increases in bookings in the secondary cities in England, France and Italy as travelers want deeper experiences in these countries.

Are people still looking for the great outdoors? 

While cultural and foodie experiences remain popular, we do have great outdoor experiences for those seeking to get in touch with nature. We began offering Iceland excursions this year, and in particular, the Golden Circle and Northern Lights excursions have been popular. We offer both shared and private versions of these tours. 

Croatia has also been a sought-after destination, and we have national park experiences there—our Krka National Park Excursion visits waterfalls and the coastal town of Skradin, plus we offer the National Park Plitvice Lakes excursion, a UNESCO World cultural and natural inheritance site, with hiking amongst waterfalls, lakes, cascades, caves, rocks and high mountain forest terrain.

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