Europeans drop summer holiday travel as austerity bites | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 30.05.2013
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Europeans drop summer holiday travel as austerity bites

Fewer Europeans are planning to go away for a summer holiday this year, a fresh study has shown. People in many nations feel the impact of austerity programs aimed at reining in public deficits.

A study by the Ipsos polling institute revealed Thursday that no more than 54 percent of Europeans were planning to get away for summer holiday this year. The survey commissioned by the Europe Assistance Group was based on interviews with over 4,000 people from Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The poll showed the level of foreign vacation travel was at its lowest in eight years. The group's CEO, Martin Vial, spoke of a clear correlation between the intensity of the slump and holiday intentions.

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He pointed out that quite naturally the countries with the highest unemployment rate were worst hit. "The scope of the crisis in Spain and Italy is particularly visible in departure plans," Vial commented. "Fewer than one in two Spaniards for instance are planning to leave on holiday this summer and little more than half of Italians."

Few stay-at-home Brits

Although 62 percent of the French stated they wanted to leave on summer holiday this year, the figure was down by 8 percent year-on-year and marked the lowest rate since 2005.

Ipsos reported departure plans among Germans and Austrians remained stable due to less tense economic and social situations. The Germans' favorite holiday destinations in Europe once again were Spain and Italy.

The British retained their enthusiasm for foreign travel, being the only ones polled whose intentions to leave for a summer holiday abroad had gone up. The Internet was used more than ever for vacation preparations and bookings, the study added.

hg/kms (AFP, dpa)

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