For many Americans, Europe is often viewed as an incredible destination for a summer family vacation. Over 700 million people visit Europe each year for the historical landmarks, beautiful beaches, cuisine, and wonderful people. However, armed conflict in Europe has drastically escalated as Russia continues their invasion of Ukraine. With no stop to the war in sight, many families are questioning if a trip to Europe is the right choice.
According to Forbes, Inteletravel has seen huge amounts of families postponing or canceling their trips to places like Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, and other Eastern European countries. However, Eastern European countries are not the only ones at risk of losing tourists.
According to the Forbes article, Mahmood Kahn, Director of the Tourism Management department at Virginia Tech believes that some of the biggest countries for tourism like Germany, France, and the UK are also at risk for losing a lot of tourists. Part of this is because Russia has recently begun targeting Ukrainian nuclear facilities. If one of them were to explode, it would put people in danger across the continent.
Another fear that tourists have is that the conflict will spill over the Russian and Ukrainian border. It is also a possibility that if a country were to step in on Ukraine’s behalf, Russia would mobilize to prepare for war with that country, putting a lot of surrounding countries at risk for collateral damage.
In an MMGY Travel Intelligence report, about 62% of Americans who have vacation plans to Europe think that the war in Ukraine will spread to other countries and affect their travel to Europe. About 47% of American travelers say that they are going to wait to see how the conflict plays out.
Three Novato High students, who had plans to go to Europe over the summer, discussed if they think they will have to change their plans depending on what happens overseas.
“I definitely still want to go, explore new places, and live new experiences but I don’t know if it will be safe,” said junior Emiliano Bustos. “I guess I will have to see if the war continues to escalate before I make my final decision.”
“I’m a little scared because I see the news and all the people in trouble but I hope everything works itself out before I leave for Europe,” said junior Robert Little.
Junior Kyle McMickin is not fearful and still eager to go.
“Nah I’m not too scared,” said McMickin. “I feel like the war will be over by summer and if it’s not, I’ll be far enough away from the fighting.”
At this point, it would likely be unwise to plan trips to Europe with no end to the war in sight. Air travel can become restricted very fast which could make it hard to return home. The best thing might be just to see how the conflict in Europe changes and evolves before making the decision to go. Some families remain in a holding pattern.