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Majority of French, Germans, Italians & Spanish scrap holiday plans amid coronavirus outbreak - poll

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New data suggests that western Europeans have given up on traveling abroad this summer
New data suggests that western Europeans have given up on traveling abroad this summer   -   Copyright  Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
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Europeans are reluctant to travel this summer for a holiday due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Euronews-commissioned poll has found.

A majority of German, French, Spanish and Italian survey respondents said they were not intending to travel anywhere for a holiday this summer.

Germany had the highest proportion of people intending to go abroad for a break, while a large percentage of Italians are planning a "staycation".

The survey recorded the views of 6,000 people in total — 1,500 from each of the participant countries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain — between July 17-18 to get a better idea of how COVID-19 is affecting life in Europe.

Data from the survey, carried out by Redfield and Wilton Strategies, shows how the pandemic has affected holiday plans. Before the outbreak, 32% of people across the four countries said they had no plans to travel for a break. Now, that figure has risen to 56%.

Concerns about contracting coronavirus in the destination country were, unsurprisingly, top of the list of reasons not to travel for Italians (24%) and the Spanish participants (25%),

It appears the pandemic will not stop people from travelling domestically, with around one in three people surveyed planning to do so. The poll showed that this proportion had not shifted since the pandemic broke out, apart from in Spain.

Europe remains the most attractive destination

Holidaymakers from the four countries surveyed who were still willing to go abroad opted for European countries, the data showed, with just one in 10 people on average planning to go to non-European countries.

While about 53% of respondents said they consider travelling to southern Europe unsafe, even with certain safety measures in place, Italy and Spain remained the most attractive locations for summer holidays.

Damage limitation

"This season is completely different. The difficulty we have at the moment is that 65% of the tourists in Nice are usually from abroad, much like Paris," the southern French city's tourism office director Rudy Salles told Euronews.

He explained that his team anticipated the after-effects of the pandemic on travelling and targeted the French market and those of surrounding countries to make up for the lack of foreign tourists, especially non-EU holidaymakers.

Although Salles is pleased to see "[his] compatriots rediscovering [their] country", he is concerned the economic cost will be "irreversible".

"The loss of earnings has been substantial," he said, with attendance rates in hotels between 40% to 60%.

He firmly believes, however, that "people will reacquire a taste for travelling" eventually. In the meantime, the Nice tourism office has set a clear goal: "It's not about breaking records this year, but about damage limitation."