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
- Last minute drives bookings above pre-Corona level: June 2022 was marked by a last-minute run on current summer vacations at travel agencies. Fifty-seven percent of the month’s sales were in the departure months of June, July and August, according to TDA. In fact, August is the first month of this year’s summer season to surpass pre-pandemic levels. The fall vacation in October is also fairly well booked: As a travel month, October is only five percent behind. Overall, the booking month of June shows significantly higher growth than the comparable month in pre-Corona 2019, at 54 percent. However, the booking curve flattens out again during June and drops to 2019 levels in early July. Mediterranean destinations are the most heavily booked this summer. They are up a combined seven percent on 2019. After Greece, Turkey and Egypt, the Balearic Islands have now also returned to the growth path with three percent. Here, the six top-selling destinations – Spain, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Italy and Portugal – account for 77 percent of summer sales to date. Read more
- Are river cruises sitting ducks this summer?: The summer is hot and precipitation rather scarce: Europe is suffering from drought, which also affects the water levels of rivers. The Rhine and Danube are currently particularly affected. In addition to cargo shipping, the two rivers are also popular waterways for river cruises. „For us, it is mainly the ships on the Rhine that are affected, a total of five ships. On the lower Danube, it can be tight at the moment, so that at best we can no longer travel by ship to Tulcea. A single thunderstorm on the Danube or the tributaries can decide whether or not we get through at individual points,“ says Daniel Pauli, managing director of Thurgau Travel AG, assessing the current situation. The situation is similar for the ship tour operator Reisebüro Mittelthurgau: „The Rhine between Strasbourg and Mannheim and between Mainz and Koblenz is particularly critical. A passage on the Danube between Regensburg and Passau is also affected by low water,“ says Karim Twerenbold, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Twerenbold Reisen Group, to which Reisebüro Mittelthurgau belongs, naming the critical passages. Currently, the tour operators are closely monitoring the situation on the two rivers: „We know the neuralgic points on the rivers by heart and, together with our partners, are planning any re-routing and program changes that we may or may not be able to implement. Both we and the shipping companies have the relevant knowledge to arrange the best for our guests in a timely manner,“ says Pauli. Currently, no passengers have had to be rebooked on the river cruises. Read more
- TI survey: inflation also affects travel: Inflation is also having a significant impact on vacation planning, and the supply problems caused by the war in Ukraine are driving up prices for travel. TRAVEL INSIDE asked industry professionals in the survey to what extent they intend to pass on the increased prices to end customers. More than half of the survey participants said: Yes, we will pass on the price increases directly. Almost 40% want to absorb at least part of the increase themselves. And less than 5% say that their customers should not feel the increased prices. Travel professionals expect costs to rise, especially for package tours and airline tickets. All respondents see air travel increasing by at least 10% by fall – almost 20% even see price increases of up to over 20% in this area. The opinion on price increases in the hotel sector is exciting. 12.5% say that there would be no increases by fall – exactly the same number of survey participants see an increase of over 20% coming. So it is not surprising that the average of the answers to the cost increase of package tours settles at about +10%. Approximately 55% see this as a realistic price increase for vacations in the fall. Read more
- DER Touristik’s top destinations for long-term vacationers: DER Touristik’s tour operators expect brisk business with long-term vacations in winter. In one of the destinations, the proportion of hotels offering discounts for long-term vacationers is 90 percent. Canary Islands, Majorca, Portugal, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Thailand – these are once again the most popular longstay destinations at Dertour, Jahn Reisen and Meiers Weltreisen. „Summer bookings have already shown that people have an immense pent-up demand for travel. This will continue in winter,“ Ingo Burmester, CEO DER Touristik Central Europe, is convinced. According to DER Touristik, many hotels and apartment complexes that are prepared for long-term vacationers offer variants such as Bed Only without meals or All Inclusive with long-term advantage prices. In addition, there are sports and entertainment programs such as language, cooking and sports courses, as well as various social programs. Health care also plays a major role. According to DER Touristik, many hotels work closely with German-speaking doctors on site. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany and Europe
- Dreamliner problems – Boeing profit falls: The crisis-ridden aerospace company Boeing was in the black in the second quarter but earned significantly less. Net income fell 72 percent from a year earlier to $160 million. Revenue fell 2 percent to $16.7 billion. Boeing continued to suffer from its inability to deliver B-787 („Dreamliner“) long-haul jets to customers because of production shortages. In its quarterly report, the group said it was working out the final steps with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resume deliveries. At least business with the former ill-fated B-737 Max is improving. Demand for the profitable medium-haul jet, which was grounded for a year and a half after two crashes, boosted revenues in the commercial aircraft division. Nevertheless, sales and profits fell short of experts‘ expectations. In view of a surprisingly positive cash flow development, the share price nevertheless reacted with a price increase in pre-market trading. Read more
- Flight chaos – Airlines reduce capacities: The European network airlines are adjusting their capacities in the fight against flight chaos during the peak season. But London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports are also trying to counteract staff shortages and the resulting problems by limiting flight operations. The French-Dutch group Air France-KLM is trimming capacity for the current third quarter and fourth quarter. British Airways parent IAG is also cutting supply by five percentage points in the third and fourth quarters, to 80 and 85% of pre-crisis levels. „Our industry continues to face historic challenges due to the unprecedented expansion of operations, particularly in the U.K. where operational challenges at Heathrow Airport have been acute,“ said IAG CEO Luis Gallego. The London airport, like its Amsterdam-Schiphol and Frankfurt hubs, limited flight operations to combat chaos stemming from staff shortages, with flight cancellations, delays and long queues. Airlines had to take thousands of flights off the schedule and rebook passengers to stabilise operations. Financially, the airlines are getting back on their feet after two years of Corona crisis, with passenger air travel at times almost at a standstill. IAG posted its first profit in April-June since the pandemic broke out in early 2020. Operating profit was EUR293 million, up from a loss of nearly EUR1 billion a year ago. Air France-KLM significantly exceeded analysts‘ forecasts with an operating profit of EUR386 million and a net profit of EUR324 million in the second quarter. Lufthansa also announced preliminary figures in mid-July with an operating profit of EUR 350 to 400 million. This was mainly due to the booming cargo business, while all passenger airlines except the Swiss subsidiary Swiss were still in the red. Read more
- Lufthansa promises: „99 percent of all leisure flights take place“: After weeks of chaos at the airports and numerous flight cancellations, Germany’s largest airline has some positive news in store: virtually no further vacation flights are to be canceled in the near future. „This summer, 99 percent of all Lufthansa Group vacation flights and 95 percent of the entire flight program can take place,“ the head of Lufthansa’s Munich hub, Stefan Kreuzpaintner, told the daily Augsburger Allgemeine. As reported, Germany’s largest airline has taken thousands of flights off its schedule in recent weeks and cut quite a few services because it lacks the staff to do so. Airports in particular have made massive staff cuts during the Corona pandemic, which they now lack to cope with the strong demand for vacation travel. Many airports did not start rebuilding a sufficiently large workforce in time. In addition, there were and still are a great many sick leave notifications due to Corona. During the vacation rush season, however, flight operations should now function reliably, Lufthansa promises. However, ticket prices would continue to rise: „The price development of kerosene is a major cost driver for all airlines,“ he said. „Unfortunately, we cannot avoid passing on this price increase to customers.“ Read more
- Use of foreign specialists at airports not practicable: Practitioners had foreseen it, now research by WDR shows: The idea of deploying skilled workers from Turkey at airports comes too late and is not practicable. So far, the German government’s plan has not yet been implemented because of major hurdles in the recruitment process. Presumably, it will not happen at all. WDR quotes a service provider that provides check-in and boarding staff and handles aircraft loading and unloading as saying it no longer expects skilled workers from Turkey to come to Düsseldorf Airport. „The summer vacations are almost over, it’s just way too late.“ The service provider has now put efforts to obtain Turkish personnel on hold, he said. The formal and also financial hurdles are too high and cannot be implemented in reality, he said. Read more
- Lufthansa focuses on sustainable fuel: The Lufthansa Group and Shell conclude a memorandum of understanding on the worldwide supply of sustainable aviation fuel. The aviation group is thus further expanding its commitment in this area. According to the memorandum of understanding now signed, Lufhansa and Shell intend to agree on a seven-year contract for a total supply volume of up to 1.8 million metric tons of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) starting in 2024. According to Lufthansa, a corresponding agreement is one of the most significant commercial SAF cooperations in the aviation sector and also the largest SAF commitment of both companies to date. The cooperation now agreed with Lufthansa would also support Shell’s goal of offering at least ten percent of its aviation fuel sold worldwide as SAF by 2030. Read more
- Malta: The Mediterranean Island republic was one of the last countries in Europe to require proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. This is now no longer required. All Covid 19 entry restrictions to Malta have thus been lifted. Also the wearing of a mouth-nose protection exists only in medical and in care facilities.
- Italy: BIT, Italy’s largest travel trade fair, will be held again in 2023 at the beginning of the year – from February 12 to 14. Themes are outdoor tourism, small villages, beaches, hiking and gastronomy, and wine, as mentioned in the Enit study. Italy’s tourism is recovering much faster than expected after the pandemic. This is also true for the return of traditional foreign visitors. According to a recent study by the Italian tourism agency Enit, 32 percent more Germans are travelling to Italy this year than last.
- Greece: More flights also from the USA, the Acropolis as busy as ever and a large influx from European source markets: Greece wants to continue the high from the summer and has concrete plans to do so. Greece’s Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias is confident that travel business in 2022 will make up for Covid-19 losses despite challenges such as the pandemic, the energy crisis, the Ukraine war and inflation, he said in a meeting with Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. Thanks to nonstop flights from the U.S., which resumed in March, the U.S. market, so important for Greece, has also recovered. One indication: among the 16,000 or so daily Acropolis visitors are many U.S. citizens again, the culture minister said.
- New York: The U.S. metropolis most popular with German vacationers is preparing for many visitors with an eye to the future. Various hotel brands are significantly expanding their presence in New York. In New York City, 51 new four- and five-star hotels are being built. Of the 35 four-star and 16 five-star hotels, 18 properties with a total of just over 4100 rooms are scheduled to open this year and ten hotels with 3200 rooms next year.
- Jordan: The Jordan Tourism Board announces a strong increase in visitor numbers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Compared to the previous year, which was still severely weakened by the pandemic, almost 700% more travellers from the Federal Republic spent a vacation in Jordan in the first six months of 2022 For Austria, the increase is a good 660% and from Switzerland travelled even 730% more holidaymakers. By comparison, 42,181 people from Germany travelled to the Hashemite Kingdom in 2019 between January and June, and 21,709 in the first half of this year, which means that we are currently at just over half of the pre-pandemic level of visitors.
- France: Requirements imposed during the Corona pandemic have been removed for travel to France. Proof of Corona vaccination protection, a negative test or recovered status is no longer required as of this Monday. In the vacation country, which is also popular with many Germans, a number of special rules to combat the corona virus were lifted at the turn of the month.
- New Zealand: The island nation has now opened its borders to travellers who require a visa. It is the last opening step after the island nation largely sealed itself off from the outside world in the wake of the Corona pandemic in March 2020. Guests from visa-exempt countries, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland, have already been allowed to visit the country again since May, provided they pass a test and are vaccinated.
- Easter Island: The time has come: With great anticipation, residents of Easter Island look forward to the reopening for tourists after two and a half years of Corona pandemic. On August 4, the first flight with tourists is scheduled to arrive on Easter Island after the opening, and then there will initially be two flights per week. Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors of the islet, which belongs to Chile and is famous for its giant stone statues.
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