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Member Survey Reveals the Business Impact from EU Decision to Remove U.S. From Safe List

Published Sep 17, 2021 12:00AM


 

NEW USTOA TOUR OPERATOR MEMBER SURVEY REVEALS THE BUSINESS IMPACT

FROM EU DECISION TO REMOVE THE U.S. FROM SAFE TRAVEL LIST

 

Two Thirds of USTOA Active Members Report a Decrease

in Overall Demand for New Bookings Following the Announcement

 

NEW YORK (September 17, 2021) – The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) released new findings from a survey of its tour operator Active Members following the European Union’s announcement on August 30 to remove the United States from its “safe list.” Roughly nine out of ten (88%) of USTOA Active Members who responded to the survey operate tours or packaged travel itineraries to Europe. 

 

According to the survey, three fourths (74%) of USTOA Active Members who operate in Europe reported guests with existing 2021 European bookings postponed their travel and rebooked for a later departure date following the EU announcement that moved the US to the red list. Two thirds (60%) of respondents said guests with existing bookings to EU countries reacted by cancelling their 2021 European travel. 

 

Terry Dale, USTOA president and CEO added, “What we have heard from our tour operator members is that the EU policy change – and the resulting news coverage – immediately raised confusion among travelers, along with hesitation and doubts about their ability to proceed with European vacation plans this year. In fact, vaccinated Americans, for the most part, can move forward with their travel plans to Europe and many of our members have been operating travel programs and tours successfully in Europe for months.”

 

Dale continued, “However, it is encouraging that despite the influence of the EU news more than three fourths (79%) our tour operator members reported having guests who are proceeding with their booked 2021 Europe travel.”   

 

To gauge the overall impact that the EU announcement has had on tour operators’ current European operations, USTOA asked its Active Members to select all statements that applied:

 

  • Nearly half (45%) reported no changes in their operations
  • Half (47%) said they are cancelling departures
  • Less than half (42%) said they are running downsized groups due to cancellations
  • More than a third (37%) report that they are operating few departures by consolidating or canceling departures

 

Operations Outside of Europe

 

Only a third (33%) of Active Members said that the recent EU announcement impacted existing bookings to other destinations in the world.  The remaining two thirds (67%) reported no impact on their existing bookings to destinations outside of Europe. 

 

Of the third (33%) of Active Members who reported seeing an impact on existing bookings to other destinations, roughly 88% said passengers to non-European destinations are postponing their trips, while a quarter (25%) reported passengers are cancelling trips to non-European destinations.

 

Conversely, roughly 19% of Active Members said they’ve seen an increase in non-European destination bookings because of the EU policy change.    

 

Bookings

 

Following the EU announcement, two thirds (68%) of tour operator members reported a decrease in overall demand for new bookings compared to the weeks prior to the announcement. The remaining third (32%) saw no change in overall demand for new bookings following the news.

 

The Active Member survey was completed on September 13, with an 83% response rate of Active Member brands. The surveys are a key part of USTOA’s ongoing efforts to support and inform its membership and the industry throughout the coronavirus crisis.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com

About USTOA: 

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

 

Contact:

Gina Dolecki/Ashley Mindnich                                         

Redpoint

212-229-0119

dolecki@redpointspeaks.com /mindnich@redpointspeaks.com    

 

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