Many Central and Eastern European countries have experienced a significant drop in foreign tourist reservations since the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, travel experts have revealed.
ForwardKeys, a company which uses travel intelligence tools to establish travel industry trends, reported a drop in tourist interest in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Slovenia by as much as 50 percent since the last week of February.
Other major European countries have also experienced decreases in interest of between 10 and 30 percent.
The lack of interest will invariably affect airlines only recently returning to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic, with LOT Polish Airlines, Air Baltic and Lufthansa all being affected by a reluctant tourism industry.
The greatest worry among carriers is caused by the suspension of flight reservations to Europe by Americans. If this trend is maintained, which is highly likely due to the war, large carriers on both sides of the Atlantic will feel the negative financial consequences.
According to flight search engine Hopper, Americans have been choosing destinations closer to home, including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.
Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, British Airways, and American carriers such as United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are the ones which operate the most profitable trans-Atlantic flights. The two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic already had a detrimental effect on their operations. Now, airlines are challenged by the ban on flights over Russia during transcontinental flights.
Travel reservations between Europe and the U.S. have dropped by 13 percent.
Hopper has informed that the number of searched flights between the U.S. and Europe had started to decrease at the end of February. Since the commencement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, flight connections from and to Europe dropped by 9 percent below the expected levels and maintained that level throughout the war.
The research did not include budget airlines such as Wizz Air and Ryanair, despite them being some of the most popular carriers in the region, but they too will most likely feel the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Between January and March 9, the stocks of Wizz Air dropped by 30 percent. Due to the invasion, the company was forced to withdraw from its ambitious summer expansion plans. Moreover, the rising price of oil forecasts lower profits.
Ryanair, whose aim is growth in the region, has recorded a 13 percent decrease in the value of its stocks. Air Baltic, which is a Latvian state-owned company, indicated that the situation in Ukraine will negatively affect the company’s development.