The Impact of the Russian-Ukrainian Crisis on Travel Demand Across Europe


The escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis in past few days has upset the world’s balance and brought with it a new climate of tension and insecurity, forcing the world to put everything (including the pandemic) on the backburner.

Of course, the tourism sector has also been affected by these developments; in this article, we will try to quantify the impact that the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is having on the travel industry.


THE SHOCK WAVE. All European countries have been hit by the powerful shockwave generated by the war; flight search data clearly shows that there is (again) a lot of fear of travelling, regardless of geographical proximity to Ukraine. Political instability is one of the main reasons affecting tourist demand; in fact, the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is having such a wide impact that it is also substantially affecting the demand in countries on the opposite side of the continent.

The part of the world most affected is undoubtedly Eastern Europe. In first place is Ukraine, which recorded a decrease of -54% of searches during the last week, compared to the previous week; it’s also important to note that demand for travel to the country had already been falling sharply for weeks. All around, demand for travel collapsed inexorably: Lithuania (-45%), Estonia (-43%), Hungary (-41%), Albania (-38%), Czech Republic (-38%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (-38%), Romania (-36%). Norway and Finland are the only two Northern European countries to fall into this group, with -38% and -35% respectively. In contrast, Serbia is the only Balkan country that has not suffered a reduction in demand.


DISTANT EUROPE. The Russian-Ukrainian crisis has also affected countries that are geographically distant: searches for flights to Italy fell by 33% in the last week, as did those to Spain (-32%), Germany (-31%), Portugal (-31%) and Iceland (-30%). France (-29%) and the UK (-19%) also recorded a decrease in travel demand.

In contrast to the Balkan countries, the outbreak of war immediately caused a sharp drop in travel demand, which then gradually declined. As we can see from the graph, travel demand in the main European countries returned to growth after 23 February, although it has not yet recovered its original volumes. In some destinations, such as Spain, Italy and the UK, the recovery has been stronger, but it is not possible to make predictions about the long-term impact, given the delicacy of the situation.


In reading the data, it is possible to draw some clear conclusions: the outbreak of war in Ukraine has not only affected the tourism markets of the Balkan countries, but also those of all European countries, with a contraction in demand that risks compromising spring and early summer travel intentions.






About Destination

Destination is a market intelligence project created by Lybra – developers of the most complete, machine learning, data-centric Revenue Management System (RMS) available on the market – to share real-time, region-specific statistics, information and trends in the world of tourism.

Every day, Lybra analyzes millions of datasets – data collected from thousands of hotels’ PMS and flight search data from a leading metasearch booking engine – to help hoteliers “look ahead to better understand the present;” in other words, Lybra helps hoteliers understand the upcoming demand for their destination and gives them the revenue management tools and actionable insights necessary, to maximize bookings and revenue.

The aim of Destination is to give hoteliers and DMOs a more expansive view of tourism news and trends in different regions around the world. Destination produces weekly Travel Demand Reports, which share tourism developments for a specific country/region and analyze how the region’s travel news has impacted tourist demand. Follow Destination on LinkedIn to gain access to the upcoming Travel Demand Reports, which are published every Tuesday.

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