More Belgians are going abroad this summer

June 1st 2021

Quarter of young adults say they will not book a trip until vaccination appointment is booked 

Compared to last year, more Belgians will travel abroad. July is the most popular month; the car is the preferred means of transport; and Spain, Italy and Greece are on the top destinations. This and more is evident from UAntwerp’s Big Corona Study. 

The Big Corona Study, an initiative of UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), saw its 38th edition on Tuesday 1 June. The bi-weekly questionnaire was completed 16,500 times. That is slightly less than two weeks ago, probably due to the good weather and the steeply falling corona figures. An interesting detail: on Tuesday, the Big Corona Study was completed for the three millionth time. 

Once again, the scientists presented the respondents with a whole series of questions about many different aspects of the corona crisis, this time including some questions about Belgians’ holiday plans. This is a relevant topic partly due to vaccination appointments and the introduction of the European vaccination passport. In 2020, the Big Corona Study also surveyed summer plans, making a comparison possible. 

Some initial findings: 

  • In 2020, 30% of respondents planned a trip abroad during summer. Now 38% say they will go abroad. 19% – the same as last year – say they will not make a trip, 13% opt for a domestic multi-day trip. Some participants don’t have plans yet.  

  • The participants who will spend the summer in Belgium gave several reasons for not going abroad: travelling now is mainly considered to be too uncertain (60%) and too unsafe (48%). Remarkably, these figures are higher than last year, when 55% selected ‘uncertain’ and 40% ‘unsafe’.  

  • Seven out of ten Belgians say that the car is the most important means of transport for their holidays. This makes it the absolute holiday champion. About 15% choose to fly. These figures are in line with last year.  

  • Compared to last year, there are slightly fewer people who are going to neighbouring countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands. Spain, Italy and Greece will be welcoming more Belgians

  • July is the most popular month to go on holiday. With 41%, this month is well ahead of August (28%) and September (19%).  

  • Particularly young adults are likely to get vaccinated over the course of the summer. One in four in the 18–35 age group said they would wait for their vaccination appointment before booking a trip. 15% say they have already booked a trip and will not reschedule it for a vaccination appointment.