How Romanians’ vacation behavior changed during the pandemic
After last year, when in the context of the pandemic, 4 out of 10 Romanians were forced to give up their holidays, this year 95% of them intend to go on vacation;
The years of family vacations: 8 out of 10 respondents preferred to travel with family or loved ones to feel safe last year; in 2021, too, vacations with family and friends will predominate;
Destinations in Romania were preferred last year and continue to be in the top choices this year as well, for safety reasons;
Uncertainty continues to have an impact on holiday planning: 53% of Romanians are postponing planning this year's holiday until the last minute, and 50% of them are not sure they will travel to countries that have not taken measures against COVID-19.
Last year’s vacations
One of the conclusions of the study is that 6 out of 10 Romanian Internet users in urban areas carried out their vacation plans in 2020, despite the pandemic context. For the rest, the last vacation was a year or two ago, before the pandemic started. The main reasons why they gave up their 2020 holiday were the restrictions imposed by the authorities (52%), the protection of their own and loved ones’ health (36%), but also financial reasons - lack of resources (31%), financial instability (22%) or the desire to put money aside (11%).
Of the Romanians who were on vacation last year, half said they had organized fewer departures.
How vacations changed
2020 was the year of family vacations: 8 out of 10 respondents preferred to travel with family or loved ones to feel safe.
Among the observed behaviors is the fact that most Romanians gave up their desired destinations due to movement restrictions (74%), traveled with their own car for safety reasons (76%), intentionally avoided certain high-risk countries ( 70%), organized shorter stays (55%) and preferred camping and open spaces (52%).
Compared to the pre-pandemic period, in 2020, Romanians in urban areas spent their holidays in less accessible locations, both geographically and financially (luxury locations, resorts, exotic locations, locations that are not exposed risk). Because they traveled less than in other years, they allowed themselves to enjoy a more expensive experience.
On the other hand, the desire to spend their vacation discovering new places and countries, interacting and connecting with other people decreased during the pandemic, due to health concerns. Similarly, interest in animated destinations decreased, while interest in home vacations increased.
During the pandemic, the interest for the holidays spent in Romania increased. In the top favorite destinations is the seaside, followed by Brașov and Prahova, and on the third place the mountain areas. In parallel, Romanians who continued to spend their vacations abroad opted for destinations such as Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
Planning upcoming vacations
Most respondents say they miss going on vacation, whether they gave up on it last year or not. The feeling is more acute among women and young people aged between 18 and 24 years.
Thus, 95% of Romanians intend to go on vacation this year. Of these, over 90% want to spend their vacation in Romania, in destinations such as the seaside, mountain areas or Maramures, while Greece remains the most popular foreign destination.
As for the reasons why most Romanians opt for vacations in the country this year, the concern for health and safety remains a priority, especially among adults over 55 years old (51%). Other reasons cited include low costs, especially in the 25-44 age group (38%), the non-obligation of a COVID test, a reason supported by those aged between 35 and 44 (38%) or the desire to support the local economy, more present among respondents over 55 years (38%).
The features of upcoming vacations
Of the Romanians who intend to go on vacation in 2021, most plan to use their own car, similar to the pre-pandemic behavior. In contrast, compared to the pre-pandemic period, the number of people intending to travel by train and bus decreased (-4%), while the number of those who choose to travel by plane increased (+ 5%).
This year too, most Romanians prefer to spend their vacations with family and friends. However, as expected, holidays look different depending on age: people over 45 prioritize relaxation and rest, want to visit sights, discover different cultures and try exotic food, while persons under 34 years of age intend to take photos to keep them as memories, to be active, to have fun and to make friends.
Uncertainty continues to have an impact on holiday-related behavior: 53% of Romanian Internet users in urban areas are postponing vacation planning until the last minute, fearing the unexpected introduction of new restrictions, and 50% of them are unsure that they will travel to countries that have not taken measures against COVID-19.
However, Romanians seem optimistic, 67% of them feeling comfortable going on vacation now.