Rising cost of living may be affecting Romanians’ daily spending, but their travel plans seem less affected, with 84.7% planning to go on vacation despite inflation, according to a STEM/MARK study commissioned by Kiwi. com. The travel technology company offers data on the main destinations and trends among Romanian tourists in 2023.
Many Romanians are already planning their holidays at the beginning of the year, as travel searches during January increased on Kiwi.com, reaching more than 9.6 million. The following months follow with more than 4.2 million travel searches in February and more than 2.3 million in March. So far, for trips during 2023, Romanians have made more than 21.6 million searches on the platform, with the most searched destinations being London, Paris, Rome, Milan and Barcelona.
The most popular countries among Romanians using the platform are Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germanythe same as in 2022. The most popular destinations this year are London, Milan, Rome, Brussels and Barcelona (which replaced Paris from last year’s top 5). Romanians have regained confidence in travel as the number of 2023 bookings made on Kiwi.com between December 1, 2022 and January 12, 2023 increased by 173% compared to the same period last year .
It seems that the holiday plans of Romanians are not affected as much by the current economic situation, although the prices of plane tickets have increased by 8% on average, but they are still considerably lower (25.5% than in 2019).
Still, according to the survey carried out by STEM/MARK for Kiwi.com, when asked how they choose their next travel destination, 62.8% of the Romanians interviewed said that the budget they have is important. According to the same study, 76.5% of Romanian travelers choose their next destination based on online research, 53.3% follow recommendations from friends and family, 21.8% look for inspiration on Facebook and 17. 5% on Instagram, while only 13.7% follow recommendations from influencers who share their adventures on social media.
Not much has changed for Romanian travelers who book return flights, in terms of the number of days they spend on vacation: 46% stay up to 3 days at their destination, 29% between 4 and 6 days, while that 19% stay on vacation 1-2 weeks, similar to 2022. However, in terms of booking habits, more Romanians are booking in advance: between 3 weeks and 2 months in advance (39%, compared to with 34% in 2022), while the proportion of last-minute bookings made on Kiwi.com fell from 12% last year to 8% by 2023.
Mario Gavira, Vice President of Growth at Kiwi.com shared some insights and advice for those looking to travel in 2023:
“We are seeing some of the major European LCCs (low-cost airlines) that have significantly increased capacity since Covid launched aggressive fare promotions earlier this year. These promotions are mainly intended to ensure that your planes are filled during the first quarter, which are traditionally quite weak periods in terms of travel demand. But it’s also worth noting that some airlines are extending these promotions to the April through June travel period. This strategy is explained by LCC’s ambitious growth targets and the additional aircraft they plan to bring in during 2023. Finding the best time to book tickets for 2023 largely depends on the route and travel dates the customer is looking for. But as general advice, the earlier customers book their tickets this year, the more likely they are to get better pricesgiven that we expect air travel demand to remain strong and airline capacity limited, resulting in gradual price increases the closer customers book to their travel dates.”
At a European level, the most popular destinations are Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and France, with Romania appearing in the top 10. However, most of the searches on Kiwi.com were for London, Paris, Bangkok, New York. and Barcelona.