During the Ukrainian War, travelers booking luxury trips to Europe have not been canceled, says Jessica Griscavage, Travel Advisor to Runway Travel. Photo, Grignan, France.

Westend61 | Westend61 | Getty Images

How are Americans’ European vacation plans affected as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues endlessly? It depends on who you ask, but overall it seems to be somewhere between “not at all” and “somewhat”.

Hopper, a travel app, pointed out that continental flight searches declined as early as February, with significant increases in airfare. However, one travel adviser said that his enthusiasm for booking and leaving clients in Europe would not diminish.

Jennifer Griscavage, founder of Runway Travel, an independent affiliate of McCabe World Travel based in McLean, Virginia, was “very busy booking a trip to Europe” despite the war in Ukraine.

“The biggest impact we have seen is concerns about traveling to countries bordering Russia or Ukraine,” she said. In particular, by clients who have booked a “bucket list” trip to the Russian port city of St. Petersburg. As part of a Baltic cruise.

“Unfortunately, the cruise line had to cancel the stop in St. Petersburg. [so] Most of our clients have moved these voyages to 2023, “she added.

More from personal finance:
Do you go abroad?Your destination may require travel insurance
Americans are ready to travel as their fear of Omicron diminishes
This is where Americans want to travel abroad

According to the European Travel Commission in Brussels, the news is that for destinations near conflict zones and for destinations bordering Russia or Ukraine, the pandemic has already significantly reduced the overall number of visitors. Not very good. In the Czech Republic, last year’s arrivals decreased by 81% compared to 2019, with Finland at -80%, Latvia at -78%, Estonia at -77%, Slovakia at -76% and Lithuania at -74%. Continued. ETC.

However, for destinations further west, the image may be brighter. Despite “some minor concerns”, Europe is “still successful” for most of the Runway Travel’s wealthy clients. “Especially Italy, Greece and France are very popular,” said Griscabedge.

Audrey Hendley, president of American Express’s Global Travelland Lifestyle Services, said the affected area wasn’t the customer’s primary destination, but the company donated $ 1 million to rescue operations and stayed 1 million nights, consistent with cardholder donations. Said that it provided accommodation for the hotel. Support refugees.

“These are not big destinations for us,” she said. “But every destination is important. Every customer is important.”

Hopper researchers report that in the weeks leading up to Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 27, and in the weeks that followed, it affected search demand, bookings and airfare across Europe.

According to their report, “How is the war between Russia and Ukraine affecting travel? ,“Flight searches for travel to Europe (excluding Russia and Ukraine) are 9% below expectations, given the stagnant demand for travel after the surge in Omicron variants. Now at the beginning of the year. It is back to the level seen in.

“It’s not necessarily a big drop,” said Addit Damodaran, a price analyst at Hopper.

“That’s all [searches] It had increased at a constant rate, but now it’s tapering off and leveling off. “

The intrusion seems to have had less impact on Hopper’s existing transatlantic bookings than Covid. Approximately 20% of app customers who purchased “cancel for some reason” protection on a trip to Europe exercised their reimbursement rights during a pandemic, compared to only 15% during the current crisis in Ukraine. is.

Those who are considering making a reservation will hesitate more. They are not going to make new reservations in Europe.

Addit Damodalan

Hopper Price Analyst

“Many of our travelers may go to Western Europe,” said Damodaran. “If they have already booked the trip, they may just understand,’I’d better keep it going.’

“But those who are considering booking are more hesitant,” he added. “They are not going to make new reservations in Europe.”

Travelers who have not made a planned trip to Europe are postponing rather than booking another destination, Damodaran said. “In more normal years, Europe is about 30% of bookings, or almost one-third. [and] Now it’s about 15%. “He said.

According to Hopper, flight searches and actual bookings may be down, but airfares are up. Fares to Europe are 16% higher than the previous month. That may seem daunting, but according to Damodaran, jet fuel prices rose 70% in 2021 as a result of a pandemic and rose 30% again in the first three months of the year alone. , Now $ 2.86 per gallon. From $ 2.20, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

“Since the beginning of 2022, the size of what we have seen has been huge,” he said. “We expect rising jet fuel prices to appear in airfares.”

In other words, airfares in the United States have increased by 36% since January 1.

“Usually we expect it to approach 7% to 8% in a normal year like 2019,” Damodaran said. Airlines usually consume some of the cost of more expensive jet fuel “because it ultimately affects a traveler’s willingness to pay.”

Moscow’s attack on Ukraine and its impact on the world’s energy markets can already exacerbate the bad situation.