Please note: the following information has been compiled from the most important German-speaking Trade Media.
Current major topics within the tourism industry in the DACH region
- Sales doubled in 2022: DER Touristik Suisse, which includes travel brands like Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, Manta Reisen, Private Safaris, and Kontiki Reisen, has largely recovered from the revenue losses caused by travel restrictions during the pandemic, according to the company. In the fiscal year, revenue was CHF 485 million, which is roughly double (+108%) compared to 2021 and nearly triple (+198%) compared to 2020. The travel company was able to partially compensate for missing bookings in the first quarter of 2022, which was affected by the Omicron variant and corresponding travel hurdles, with strong last-minute business in the following months. CEO Dieter Zümpel says that the company’s travel advice, wide range of products, comprehensive support, and flexible rebooking options met high demand from Swiss travelers seeking to make up for lost time after the pandemic. The company’s first Kuoni Travel Index, which highlights current travel and booking trends, shows that the company’s upward trend will continue this year, with revenue in the first quarter of 2023 at a similar level to January to March 2019 (+65% compared to the same period in 2022). The top five destinations in 2023 are Mallorca, Hurghada, Crete, the Maldives, and Cyprus, while the top destinations for Kuoni’s already-visited destinations in 2023 are the Maldives, Hurghada, Thailand, and Gran Canaria. The average lead time for booking holiday trips has increased from 98 days in 2022 to 118 days. Read more
- This is how organizers serve current luxury trends: Luxury travel is booming and customers are willing to pay for it, according to reports from five German travel companies. The pandemic has created a new awareness and desire for luxury travel, with many customers taking private jets, yachts, and trains for vacations. The average German traveler is also willing to pay more for a luxury experience. The demand for luxury travel has increased, and many travel companies have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with some seeing triple the demand. Long-haul destinations such as Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Tanzania, Rwanda, Israel, Japan, and Korea are particularly popular. Additionally, clients are opting to stay for longer periods of time. European destinations, particularly those in the Mediterranean, have remained popular. Read more
- Consumers see costs as barrier to sustainable travel: A new survey by Booking.com has found that nearly half of travellers believe sustainable travel options are too expensive, up from just 11% last year. While the data shows that economic concerns are the main concern for respondents, the consideration of climate issues is also increasing. Over 50% of travellers believe there are not enough sustainable travel options, while 74% want travel companies to offer more sustainable travel choices, up from 66% last year. In response, Booking.com is continuing to grow its Travel Sustainable program, and is expanding its “Travel Sustainable Badge”. Other travel companies, including Kayak and Expedia Group, are also offering similar options, and Google has added a “Less emissions” filter for flights and a “Eco-certified” filter for hotels to make sustainable travel easier. Read more
- These are the countries Europeans prefer to travel to: According to a survey conducted until March 2023, 72% of Europeans plan to travel between April and September 2023, with a focus on shorter trips in the spring and early summer. France, Spain, and Italy are the most popular foreign destinations, and sun and beach trips remain the top leisure activity. However, business travel is slowly increasing, and the preference for public transport is growing. Older travelers are willing to spend more on longer trips, while 52% have already booked some part of their next trip. The survey also found that Europeans are concerned about rising travel costs and are looking for ways to cut expenses while traveling. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- United Airlines expands: United Airlines is expanding its services to 114 cities outside the US in the summer of 2023. The airline is responding to the growing demand for international flights to and from the US. United Airlines will offer more flights over the Atlantic and Pacific than any other airline, with a 25% increase in flight volume compared to the summer of 2022. The airline will introduce new flights to Dubai, Malaga, and Stockholm, and will increase the number of flights to Japan, Australia, and London-Heathrow. United will also offer up to 18 flights per day from Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin, making it the airline’s largest flight offering from Germany to date. The airline will also be highly present in Switzerland, with up to six flights per day from Geneva and Zurich. Read more
- Long waiting times continue at Zurich Airport: Passengers departing from Zurich Airport have been facing long waiting times at security checkpoints due to a personnel shortage. The cantonal police of Zurich is responsible for security checks at the airport, but recruitment of new staff is proving challenging due to the tight job market. The situation is unlikely to improve in the near future, and passengers are being advised to arrive at the airport two to three hours before departure and only carry the amount of hand luggage allowed by their airline. The airport has ordered the required personnel in advance, but the cantonal police are unable to provide the necessary staff at all times. The police have started training new staff for the airport control department, and temporary assistance staff are being sought to help prepare for security checks during the summer months. Read more
- Over seven million passengers at EuroAirport: The EuroAirport in Basel-Mulhouse has seen a significant increase in passenger numbers since April 2022, with over seven million passengers traveling through the airport, almost double compared to the previous year. The airport’s financial results have also benefited from this increase, with a revenue of €149.9 million and a net profit of €28.4 million, significantly higher than the previous year. Despite the pandemic, the airport managed to maintain employment levels with 6,220 people employed on the airport platform by the end of 2022. Read more
- That’s how much more expensive airfares and travel prices are: The cost of travel, including flights and hotel rooms, has risen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparis, a Swiss comparison website, reported a nearly 10% increase in the cost of flights in April 2023 compared to the previous month, and a 35% increase compared to the previous year. Pauschalreisen, which are package tours, increased by 7% in April. Globetrotter Group CEO André Lüthi said that long-haul flights have become 30% to 45% more expensive since the pandemic began. The cost of flights to North America, in particular, has risen considerably. Swiss Airlines has confirmed the price hikes, and other travel companies have reported a 15-18% decrease in passenger numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels. Despite these developments, travel agencies report that overall revenues are at 91% of 2019 levels due to higher prices. The rise in travel costs may be beneficial in the long run by discouraging overtourism and promoting more sustainable travel practices. However, some industry insiders worry that the current trend of restraint by airlines regarding price-gouging will not last, and that prices will eventually return to pre-pandemic levels. Read more
- London Heathrow is off to a strong start in 2023: Heathrow airport has been rated highly for its passenger service during the recent half term and Easter holidays. Despite facing industrial action, the airport’s contingency plans helped it run smoothly. The airport is working on further improvements to its services, such as extending eGates to 10+ year-olds. Although Heathrow remains loss-making, it has appealed the H7 settlement to the CMA, and is opening up connections to 10 Chinese cities as borders reopen. The airport has achieved science-based validation for its 2030 carbon reduction goals and is urging the UK government to remove the VAT on shopping to attract more overseas visitors. Read more
- Balearic Islands: The Balearic Islands are expected to experience a heat wave next week with temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius. The island of Mallorca could break its previous record for the highest temperature in April. The heat is caused by warm air from North Africa, which is expected to hit the islands on April 27 and last until the end of the month. The weather service Aemet warns that such high temperatures are unusual at this time of year.
- Goa: Representatives from Goa’s tourism industry recently met with agents in Switzerland to discuss their latest offerings. The representatives provided information about Goa’s tourist highlights, new offerings, and services, including those offered by hotels, DMCs, airlines, and villa providers. The event also included a cocktail and Indian-inspired dinner. Additionally, the representatives discussed the opening of the Manohar International Airport in December 2022 and the hope to create flight connections to Europe, including with Eurowings Discover and Edelweiss.
- India: According to a report by ITB Berlin, Indians generated the largest volume of outbound travel in Asia in 2022, surpassing Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese travelers. They achieved just over half of the 2019 travel volume, indicating a promising recovery in 2023. IPK’s World Travel Monitor® predicts a 190% increase in Indian outbound travel in 2022 compared to the previous year, surpassing the global average of 90%. India is now the top source market for outbound travel in Asia, with Dubai, the US, and Thailand among their favorite destinations. The majority of Indian travelers prefer to book their trips online, but over 40% still use travel agencies. The average duration of an Indian outbound trip in 2022 was eight nights, and the average spend per night was 235 EUR per person.
- Jamaica: The Jamaican government has also implemented guidelines for environmental protection, including the National Policy on Sustainable Tourism, which establishes standards for sustainability and environmental compatibility in the tourism sector, such as waste disposal, the use of renewable energy, and the protection of natural resources. To reduce water pollution, the use of single-use plastics in hotels and restaurants has already been banned. The government has also launched initiatives to promote environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, such as electric vehicles and bicycles.
- Oman: Oman and the world’s leading tourism fair announced their partnership for the coming year, with Oman being the partner country of ITB Berlin 2024. Oman will host the opening gala on March 4, 2024, and offer visitors a diverse program with numerous events from March 5 to March 7, 2024. Salim Al Mahrouqi said that ITB Berlin is a strong platform to showcase Oman’s diverse tourism offerings. David Ruetz, Senior Vice President of Messe Berlin, is pleased with the cooperation, saying that Oman is an attractive partner for the next year’s fair. The ITB Berlin, which has been the world’s leading travel fair since 1966, had over 5,500 exhibitors from 161 countries and more than 90,000 visitors in 2023.
- Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is making a strong push into tourism, and an increasing number of German travel companies are including the still-young vacation destination in their offerings. Despite existing public reservations about the political situation in the country, Saudi Arabia has arrived in the tourism industry, as evidenced by their impressive 1,500 square meter display at the ITB in Hall 3.2, where they received the award for „Best Exhibitor.“ Many German travel companies, including FTI, DER Touristik, and the German Travel Association, have signed agreements with Saudi Arabia to promote cooperation and intensify travel between the two countries. Twenty-five German travel companies already have Saudi Arabia in their portfolio, with eight in Austria and two in Switzerland. While some companies have already begun offering tours, others are still watching the situation.
- Spain: The tourism industry in Spain is set to break revenue records for the second year in a row in 2023, according to Exceltur, the country’s tourism association. Exceltur predicts tourism revenue of €172.2bn, an increase of 8.3% over the previous year and 9.4% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The increase is due to strong domestic demand and the recovery of European source markets. Spain, the second-most popular tourist destination in the world, saw 71.6 million foreign tourists in 2022, mainly from the UK, France, and Germany. The tourism sector contributes around 12% of Spain’s GDP.
- Taiwan: Taiwan is launching a lottery for international tourists starting May 1, 2023, with a total of 500,000 prizes worth almost 150 Euros each over three years. The prizes include EasyCard or i-Pass pre-paid E-ticket cards, which can be used for purchases at participating stores, and hotel vouchers worth 5000 Taiwan-Dollar each. To participate, travelers must spend at least three days in Taiwan (up to 90 days) and register one to seven days before arrival. Upon arrival, they need to present their QR code at the Event Promotion Center in the airport to join the lottery. This initiative aims to boost tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Thailand: Authorities in Thailand have warned people to stay indoors as extreme heat sends temperatures soaring across the country. The Meteorological Department has forecasted that temperatures in the next 24 hours could reach 43 degrees Celsius in the country’s north and 40 C in the capital, Bangkok. The heat index on Saturday was forecast to be as high as 53.8 C in the eastern province of Chonburi, and on Sunday, the southern resort island of Phuket could feel hotter than 54 C. The heat caused problems for the 2,000 people at a political rally in Bangkok, with many seen trying to cool down with battery-driven and old-fashioned hand fans.
- Vietnam: Vietnam has reintroduced corona restrictions due to corona outbreaks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In Saigon, teachers and students must again wear masks in class, and the elderly are particularly affected. Parents are urged to have their children vaccinated against corona. In Hanoi, a mask requirement has been reintroduced in public transport and supermarkets, as well as in enclosed spaces such as bars and restaurants. The government reports a sharp increase in infection rates attributed to the new omicron subvariant XBB.1.16. A total of 33 cases were reported in Saigon during the week of April 10-16, 2023, which is six times the average for the previous four weeks. Hanoi is currently recording as many as close to 100 severe corona cases per day.
- Zanzibar: Zanzibar’s President Dr. Hussein Mwinyi aims to make the island the best destination for tourists worldwide. His government is modernizing infrastructure and providing better services to attract more visitors. Zanzibar’s strategic location, rich cultures, warm beaches, and great climate make it a popular tourist spot. Visitors can enjoy the Sounds of Wisdom and Zanzibar Film Festival or visit Stone Town’s heritage sites and Zanzibar Museum. The island also boasts six beautiful beaches, such as Jambiani Beach and Nakupenda Beach, which offer snorkeling, diving, and fresh seafood. Changuu Beach is perfect for underwater diving, while Paje Beach is ideal for water sports. Nungwi Beach is known for its energetic nightlife and social vibe.
What else is brewing ?
Are you ready for some exciting news? The Talk Tourism event is coming to Munich on June 14-15, 2023, and it’s going to be a game-changer. Hosted by PROJECT M Strategieberatung, Saint Elmo’s Tourismusmarketing, and the Verband Internet Reisevertrieb e.V. (VIR), this two-day event is focused on creating positive future scenarios for the travel industry. We’ll be diving deep into inspiring conversations, new perspectives, and fresh ideas on how tourism can shape the way we live and work. You won’t want to miss it!
Now, let’s talk about another adventure that’s not for the faint of heart – climbing Mount Everest. This season, a record-breaking 454 climbers have received permission to scale the tallest mountain in the world. But before you pack your bags and head to Nepal, keep in mind that a permit costs a whopping $11,000 USD, and a full expedition can set you back between €40,000 and €100,000. That’s a lot of money, but for those willing to take on the challenge, it can be the experience of a lifetime. Just make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a good pair of hiking boots!
Speaking of new experiences, have you heard of the Metaverse? It’s a virtual reality space where people can interact with each other and with digital content in a fully immersive way. The Swiss are all for it, with 70% of companies interested in getting involved within the next two years. Even the Swiss travel industry is getting in on the action, with Hotelplan Suisse creating its own space in the Metaverse. While opinions are divided on whether the travel industry will fully embrace this new technology, it’s clear that the Metaverse has the potential to change the way we travel and interact with the world around us.
If you’re an eco-conscious traveler, we’ve got some good news for you. Kayak has released a list of the top 10 cities for sustainable travel, and the winners are in! Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the Netherlands took the top two spots, thanks to their extensive bike networks and sustainable hotels. But don’t count out the other cities on the list – Graz, Austria, was hailed as a hidden gem with plenty of train connections and electric car rentals. Next time you’re planning a trip, consider visiting one of these sustainable cities to minimize your impact on the environment.
Finally, Italy has a new tourism ambassador – and she’s a virtual influencer! The Venus, as depicted by Sandro Botticelli, will be debuting on social media as the face (and voice!) of Italy’s tourism campaign. Some critics have slammed the authenticity of the campaign, but we think it’s a clever way to bring Italian art and culture to a wider audience. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!
That’s all for now, fellow travelers. Keep exploring, keep learning, and most importantly, keep having fun!
Just read on and enjoy and tell your colleagues about our newsletter!
And if you have any doubt or would like to talk about how to approach these markets better, just get in touch with us. We’ll be delighted to help you.