Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Holiday Travel to Europe Heats up while Iceland Goes Cold

'Tis the season for exploration: travel to Paris and long-standing favorite London jump to the top

Travelers are choosing London, Paris and Rome as their preferred European holiday destinations with travel to these cities increasing in significant numbers, while travel to Iceland has plunged, according to a survey by travel insurance and assistance company Allianz Global Assistance.

American travel to Europe is up 25 percent over last year, overall, and the Top 10 European destinations held onto their rankings since 2018, with frontrunners London (49 percent), Paris (57 percent), Rome (34 percent), Amsterdam (28 percent), and Madrid (18 percent) experiencing healthy gains.

Iceland, which appeared on last year’s list at #11, dropped to #31 and will see 84 percent fewer American visitors to the Nordic country, fueled perhaps in part by the collapse of national air carrier WOW Airlines earlier this year. Scandinavian neighbors including Rovaniemi, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden (#27) each enjoyed robust gains in American travelers at 154 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

Allianz reviewed 701,583 million itineraries during the peak holiday travel season for departures from U.S. airports to European destinations from Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 and returning by Monday, January 6th, 2020.

Florence (#20), the third Italian city in this Top 20 European Holiday Travel survey, will see an increase of 46 percent of Americans over last year, while Milan (#11) rises by 35 percent; Venice, which came in at #18 last year and is currently experiencing historical flooding, dropped three spots and out of the Top 20. Czech capital city Prague jumped six spots to #13, with a 42 percent increase in American travelers, and Athens, Greece increased by 32 percent and now claims the 16th most popular European holiday destination title.  

“Travel to Iceland has fallen off a fjord, while London, Paris and Rome continue to fly high,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “According to our data, travel to Europe has increased dramatically this holiday season, perhaps fueled by the increasing popularity of river cruising. Wherever you’re headed, don’t let canceled flights, missed connections or lost luggage turn you into a grinch this holiday season: buy travel insurance when you book your trip to help protect your travel investment and give you peace of mind.”

Methodology: The data of U.S. travelers’ 2019 European travel plans was gathered by analyzing the number of travelers that went through the online booking process of airfare and package paths for partners offering Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance to generate itineraries for roundtrip flights departing from U.S. airports to European destinations between 11/20/19-1/5/2020, returning 11/20/20-1/6/2020. In total, 701,583 itineraries were analyzed using this methodology.