Europeans give up holiday travel as austerity bites: study

ARIS, May 30, 2013 (AFP) – Fewer Europeans are planning to go away for a summer holiday as economic austerity bites, a new study shows, with levels of foreign vacation travel at their lowest for eight years. No more than 54 percent of Europeans are planning to get away for summer holiday this year, according to the Ipsos-Europ Assistance “holiday barometer” published Thursday.

Europ Assistance Group CEO Martin Vial said there was “a clear correlation between the intensity of the slump and holiday intentions”.

Unsurprisingly the countries with the highest unemployment rates were the worst hit.

“The scope of the crisis in Spain and Italy is particularly visible in departure plans,” the report said, with fewer than one in two Spaniards planning to leave on holiday this summer and little more than half of Italians.

Due to “less tense” economic and social situations the departure plans for Germans and Austrians had stabilised, according to the study.

For the first time since the economic crisis began, the French are particularly affected this year, it said.

While 62 percent of them say they want to leave on holiday this year, this is still eight points down on last year and the lowe