According to the findings of its tour operator members about current passenger booking trends, Italy was named the top international destination that travelers are booking for 2022. Germany came in second, followed by France, Greece, and Ireland tied in third place.
Italy also topped the ranking of the top three international destinations that travelers are booking for 2021 (based solely on bookings made this year). Ireland and the United Kingdom tied for second, followed by Costa Rica, Egypt, Iceland, and Mexico tied for third.
According to the survey, eight out 10 USTOA Active Members are “enthusiastic” to “cautiously optimistic” for a complete resumption of business by the end of 2021: half (49%) are “cautiously optimistic;” 24% are “optimistic,” and roughly 7% are “enthusiastic.” A smaller percentage, 11%, are “not optimistic,” and 9% said they were feeling “negative.”
“Optimism for recovery even as early as 2021 is high, which is a positive sign for our members and the industry, especially as this survey was conducted just prior to the recent news of a potential return to Europe and US cruising by summer,” Terry Dale, USTOA president and CEO, said.
“While our members remain vigilant, given the fluidity of the situation, we suspect this enthusiasm to only strengthen as more progress is made with re-opening strategies,” he added.
Greece entices American travelers
Earlier in the week, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said he was satisfied with the progress made in expanding the number of direct flights from the United States to Greece ahead of reopening the country for the tourist season.
The Minister expressed positivity about his meetings with business leaders at United and American Airlines to encourage the creation of additional routes from US cities to Greece.
“I am extremely satisfied with the response of the opening of Greek Tourism to the American market,” Theoharis tweeted, showing images of his meetings with airline officials.
Theoharis traveled to Atlanta, Georgia last week where he met with executives from Delta Airlines which is headquartered in the city. Delta announced that direct flights from New York to Athens would resume on May 28, followed by flights from Atlanta on July 2.
The Minister said that the US airlines’ representatives pointed to Greece’s high recovery rate among European countries as a reason to resume travel.
Greece as a model of a safe tourism destination
While keeping safety in mind, Theorharis wants to make it as easy as possible for tourists to visit Greece. He explained that American and other travelers who can show proof of their vaccination or at least that they tested negative for COVID 19 will be allowed into his country.
Theoharis maintains that Greece’s main goal with its reopening is to set a standard for how to reopen safely for international visitors.
“We are saying there is a system. We put it in the public domain, we want others to copy it. We believe it’s safe. We have the data to back it up. Of course every country makes its own sovereign decisions, but we believe that this is the way to move forward,” he told Global Atlanta.