War and inflation cause uncertainty about travel activities
After two years with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been looking forward to traveling abroad during spring and summer 2022. But several factors may influence the wanderlust: Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the rising inflation eroding the private economy.
Easter holidays are just around the corner, and at SOS International, we are holding our breath:
- Easter will serve as a guideline for how we expect travel activities to be in 2022. We are on the right track, which may also be seen in the traffic in the major Nordic airports, says Jan Sigurdur Christensen, CEO, SOS International.
In the period from 14 February to 21 March, when the Nordic countries typically are having their winter holidays, the alarm centre for travel assistance had a case volume of 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. As for driving holidays, the number of cases abroad in the Mobility division did not differ much from the number in the same period in 2019. This suggests that the travel activities among the Nordic citizens appear to be returning to normal after COVID-19.
Private finances are affected
In connection with Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, oil and gas prices, among other things, have increased significantly. Even before the war, the European economies were affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, causing rising inflation. This has led to increasing food and energy prices in a magnitude that is affecting the private households.
SOS International is forecasting several possible scenarios for the upcoming travel season:
- Many people choose to go on holidays and ignore the fuel prices and the war
- The concern about war means choosing destinations close to home and farthest from Russia
- The war, the uncertainty, and the fuel and electricity prices are causing many people to skip going abroad
The big question going forward is how the war and inflation will come to affect the behaviour of the Nordic citizens in the upcoming months. The financial crisis in 2008 and the years thereafter did not significantly affect the citizens' travel patterns.
During the past weeks, several countries have experienced increasing COVID-19 infection rates. Reintroduced and hardened restrictions on destinations may also have an impact on this summer’s travel activity.