With travel to Europe resuming, what does this mean for your tour business?

travel to europe

After what felt like an eternity, travelers are now able to book a European vacation again. Travel is starting to increase in various European countries, particularly as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues and individual countries begin to lift restrictions for local residents and international travelers. Tour operators who want to take advantage of the growing number of people interested in traveling to Europe will want to stay aware of the current vaccination rates and ongoing restrictions across the continent. Our guide will help you figure out how to navigate the return to travel to Europe in a post-COVID environment.

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Status of the European COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

While the United Kingdom forged ahead with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the European Union had a slightly slower start. The 27-nation organization struggled to come to terms on an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy the vaccine and subsequently had to deal with supply issues. Now that supply is increasing, the rollout is fully underway, and the European Union is making progress. Here’s a look at how some European countries are doing with the vaccine rollout as of July 1, 2021, according to Statista:

  • Malta leads Europe with more than 151 doses administered per 100 people.
  • Iceland is second to Malta, with nearly 124 doses administered per 100 people.
  • Germany, Spain and the Netherlands fall further down the line, with about 90 doses administered per 100 people.
  • Italy has administered about 86 doses per 100 people.
  • France and Ireland have some catch-up to do, as they have administered about 81 doses per 100 people.

Travel to Europe: Who can enter the continent?

While the European Union continues to toy with the idea of a Europe travel vaccine certificate, restrictions have started to ease on who can come to Europe for leisure travel. In the middle of June 2021, American travelers were delighted to know that they would now be able to book non-essential travel to Europe. It’s important to note, however, that requirements for travelers vary based on the country. Some are requiring proof of vaccination, while others require a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country.

How tour operators can prepare for an increased level of European vacations

While people across the world are busy planning their dream Europe tour, tour operators need to start preparing to adjust their operations to new conditions. Here are some things that you can do in order to be ready for a higher volume of travelers:

  • Ensure that your tour and/or activity company has COVID-19 guidelines in place. The pandemic is not over, despite the vaccine rollout. Your guidelines should align with the existing health and safety recommendations and accommodate any lingering local laws and restrictions in your destination.
  • Offer your guests the opportunity to rent fully sanitized equipment. This allows people to customize their experience with your business and gives travelers more flexibility when visiting your destination while staying safe.
  • Maintain flexible cancellation and rebooking policies. You will want your travelers to feel like they can cancel and receive a refund on their booking if something unexpected happens, such as a change in travel restrictions.
  • Update your Google My Business listing so customers can be aware at a quick glance if you are open for business.
  • Consider going paperless by using an online booking software,  taking online payments and using digital waivers. This will save you admin time and allow for a faster and safer customer check-in.
  • Partner with other local businesses in your area to create enticing packages for international and domestic travelers as well as local residents who aren’t quite ready to venture outside their communities yet. Your tour and activity business can create unique experiences for a variety of market segments when you partner with local restaurants, boutiques, and even other tour companies.

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Revenge travel will be trending more and more, and as a tour operator, it’s important that you are prepared for the influx of travelers who are going to arrive in the months ahead. Now is the best time to invest in an optimized online booking system, specifically designed for tour and activity operators, such as Rezdy, that can help you seamlessly transition.

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