New and Old Tourist Habits in the Just Past Christmas Holidays

Trade and Economics - January 8, 2024

Christmas Holidays are Always a Special Moment of the Year and, Europeans, have Planned Trips or Stays in Places that are Still Varying Compared to the Habits of Previous Years.

Tourist trends are undergoing some interesting evolutions, with new emerging destinations and changes in travel preferences, especially in periods, such as the last Christmas, which has always been considered very important for European citizens intending to close a working year, often saving money for a good winter holyday, in the best possible way.

One of the most obvious trends for the 2023/2024 Christmas holidays is the return to local traditions. Europeans, in fact, seem to want an authentic and unique experience, moving away from classic tourist destinations in favour of more authentic and less crowded destinations. Countries with strong cultural roots, picturesque villages and traditional Christmas markets are gaining popularity. Rural regions and lesser-known places are emerging as ideal destinations for those looking for a break from the chaos of cities during the holidays.

Environmental awareness is increasingly at the centre of Europeans’ travel decisions. Destinations that promote environmental sustainability by offering eco-friendly, low-impact travel options are becoming increasingly popular. Many tourists are looking for eco-friendly hotels, eco-friendly experiences and sustainable transportation options, such as high-speed trains or electric cars. Destinations that embrace sustainable practices are attracting the attention of those looking for a responsible way to spend their holidays, in the name of the ecological transition promoted by the European Union.

The classic winter destinations are experiencing a golden age, despite the well-known problems due to global warming. Snow and winter sports lovers are opting for lesser-known locations, in search of authentic adventures and new experiences. Countries such as Finland, Norway and Iceland, with their fascinating winter landscapes, are becoming trendy destinations and activities such as Northern Lights viewing, dog sledding and natural spas are in high demand for making the holidays an unforgettable experience and ever closer to the more classic idea of Christmas.

The race against time seems to have turned into a return to “slow travel”. Europeans, in fact, are trying to slow down and really enjoy the Christmas holidays without stress or harmful distractions. This means choosing less crowded destinations, with more relaxed itineraries and enough time to explore without rushing. Food and wine tourism, the exploration of historic villages and long walks in nature are increasingly popular activities during the holidays. Slowness is conquering the tourist preferences of many Europeans and the winter period is becoming the best one to best enjoy the calm and relaxation of a slow-paced holiday.

While some Europeans prefer the comfort of local Christmas traditions, others are looking for exotic and cultural adventures with greater panache and more dynamism. Destinations outside Europe, with different cultures and unique atmospheres, are attracting those who want to spend their holidays in a less ordinary way. Countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are increasingly considered for an unconventional Christmas experience and, above all, with temperatures opposite to those typical of the holidays in much of Europe.

The traditionally more ski-oriented nations, first and foremost Italy and France, nevertheless continue to be one of the major points of attraction for winter tourism, thanks in part to the combination of cultural aspects with more purely sporting ones.

Europeans’ tourism trends for the 2023/2024 Christmas holidays reflect a growing desire for authenticity, sustainability and unique experiences. While some people choose to return to local traditions, others seek new horizons by exploring winter, sustainable or exotic destinations. In an increasingly connected world, the diversity of choices offers everyone the opportunity to find the perfect destination to celebrate Christmas and the holidays in a way that reflects their values and desires. This year too, Europeans have demonstrated that they are a people closely linked to exploration, whether of a nearby place or an extremely distant location, in a period, such as Christmas, perfect for an escape from the stress of everyday life.