May 24, 2012 / 7:00 PM / 7 years ago

Crisis-hit Europeans freeze summer holiday plans

A general view shows the city of Zurich and the Limmat River during sunny spring weather May 14, 2012. At background left are the church towers of the Fraumuenster and St. Peter and on the right the Grossmuenster church. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

MILAN (Reuters) - Europeans are putting holiday plans on the back burner this summer as the crisis hits “sun belt” economies in Greece, Spain and Italy, a study showed on Thursday.

Only six of 10 people polled by Ipsos for Europ Assistance said they were planning to go on holiday between June and September this year, the lowest level in eight years.

The estimate compares to 66 percent in 2011.

Italians were the most reluctant to travel despite their usual long holiday season, with 63 percent willing to leave compared to 78 percent last year.

Spaniards were second in the poll, with more than half saying they will remain at home.

France is the only exception to the gloomy picture, with 70 percent of respondents preparing for a summer break against 68 percent last year.

The survey polled 3,500 people, including Germany, Britain, Belgium and Austria.

Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; Editing by Michael Roddy

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