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
- TRAVEL AGENCIES CHOOSE THE BEST SHIPPING COMPANIES: The latest cruise study by fvw|TravelTalk evaluates the most important ocean cruise providers based on feedback from travel agencies and online portals. According to the study, TUI Cruises ranks first with its Mein Schiff brand, with strengths in product services such as gastronomy, cabins, sports and wellness. Aida ranks close behind, with top ratings in entertainment and better value for money than TUI Cruises. Both providers are highly rated for their routes and destinations. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and MSC Cruises rank third and fourth, respectively, with MSC up three spots from 2018. Other providers also improved their rankings. Read more
- SUMMER BUSINESS EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS: The mood in Swiss travel agencies is positive this summer after the challenges of the Corona crisis and last year’s flight chaos. A survey by Travelnews confirms this trend. Travel agencies such as Nova Reisen in Frutigen BE and Pink Travel in Basel report sales that exceed pre-Corona figures. However, Jonas Sulzberger of the Sulzberger travel agency in Neuhausen am Rheinfall SH expressed disappointment with long-haul business, especially for trips to Asia and North America. The Mondial travel agency in Hochdorf LU recorded a slight disappointment in July, probably due to the good weather. For the fall vacations, destinations such as Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt are particularly in demand. In general, 2023 is expected to go down in history as a particularly successful year for the Swiss travel industry. Read more
- EXPERIENCE TRAVEL REPLACES CONVENTIONAL TRAVEL MOTIVATION: Travel trends and analytics company Mabrian has used Big Data and artificial intelligence techniques to study tourist travel behavior between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2023. The study shows that experiential activities such as wellness, active & lifestyle, nature & food are displacing traditional travel motivations such as art, culture and sunbathing. Experiential activities have increased by 10 percentage points over the past four years and account for nearly 50% of travel motivations in June 2023, compared to 41% in June 2019 for arts & culture and sunbathing. A turning point in 2021 is evident, confirming the impact of the pandemic. Carlos Cendra of Mabrian stresses the importance for tourism companies to adapt to new trends and provide a diverse offer to avoid dependencies and promote destination sustainability. Read more
- TRAVEL BOOMS IN ONLINE BUSINESS: After the three-year pandemic, travel and tickets drove e-commerce significantly in 2022. According to a study, online spending on travel increased by 119% this year. Damir Leko of Concardis Austria sees this as a great opportunity for Austrian tourism and event providers to achieve significant revenue growth with good online offers and suitable payment solutions. In 2022, the total consumption potential of e-commerce in Austria was around EUR 30 billion, an increase of almost 30% compared to 2021. Much of this growth stems from travel bookings. Austrians spent EUR 11.6 billion online on hotels, flights and travel, as well as EUR 1.2 billion on cruises and EUR 300 million on train tickets. In addition, they spent EUR 800 million online for tickets to stadiums, concerts, and cultural events in 2022, an increase of 180%. Read more
- MUSEUM TOURISM IS GROWING: The museum tourism market is witnessing a surge due to the increasing interest in heritage and cultural tourism. Travelers worldwide are being drawn to museums, especially renowned ones with unique artifacts. Current data from Future Market Insights (FMI) places the museum tourism market at US$ 25.2 billion in 2023. Predictions indicate an 11.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2033, with the market potentially reaching US$ 74.8 billion by 2033. Museums play a crucial role in tourism by preserving cultural values, showcasing historical evolution, and bridging the gap between ancient and modern times. There’s been a notable increase in museum visits by educational travelers, as institutions emphasize cultural education. This trend is strengthened by the opportunity museums offer to observe industrialization’s journey, making them valuable for research scholars. In essence, the growth in museum tourism is driven by both cultural interest and educational initiatives. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- MORE AIR PASSENGERS IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR: In Q2 2023, Swiss airports have a total of 13.8 million arriving or departing passengers (local and transfer passengers) on scheduled and charter flights. This is 2.4 million passengers or 21% more than in the same months last year, but still 10% less than in 2019, the year before the Covid 19 pandemic began. The number of aircraft movements (takeoffs and landings) also increased in the second quarter of 2023 compared to 2022, rising 12% to 106,000. Read more
- AIRFARE PRICES IN GERMANY REMAIN HIGH: Following the Corona crisis, airfares in Germany have risen significantly, with the Federal Statistical Office noting a price increase of almost 25% for international flights in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year. Flights within Europe in particular have become 32% more expensive. Airlines such as Eurowings are quoting high prices for certain routes, citing higher duties and taxes as the main reason. Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof is particularly critical of rising costs due to taxes and fees and calls for more balanced regulation, including environmental charges. However, experts do not see government regulations alone as the cause. Costs have risen due to inflation, including personnel costs, spare parts prices and in-flight catering. In addition, airports and German air traffic control have increased their charges to offset losses from the Corona era. Another significant factor in the price increase is the imbalance between supply and demand. The German aviation market is recovering more slowly than other EU countries, with supply in the first half of the year at only about 75% of pre-crisis 2019 levels. In addition, many low-cost carriers are avoiding Germany due to high entry costs, further limiting supply. Despite higher levies, airline profits have increased and booking systems automatically drive prices up. The unfavorable supply/demand ratio remains the main reason for high airfares in Germany. Read more
- ABU DHABI: In a bid to boost tourism, Abu Dhabi will abolish the tourist tax on hotel stays from Sept. 1. This tax, known as the „Municipality Fee,“ was 15 dirhams (about 3.75 euros) per night per person and was collected when guests checked out. This measure, announced by the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), aims to encourage travelers and locals to make greater use of the emirate’s hospitality offerings and strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as a tourist destination. In addition to the abolition of the „Municipality Fee,“ the „Tourism Fee“ will be reduced from six to four percent, and another four percent fee in hotel restaurants will also be eliminated. Last year, Abu Dhabi recorded 18 million foreign visitors, with about 4.1 million guests staying overnight, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous pandemic-hit year.
- ARUBA: The Aruban Tourism Office (ATA) has announced the reopening of four museums managed by the Aruban Museum Foundation. These museums allow visitors and locals to delve into Aruba’s history and cultural heritage. ATA is partnering with the Aruban Museum Foundation to promote these museums effectively. They play a significant role in educating, inspiring, and connecting communities. The Ministry of Culture has ensured the proper maintenance of the collections.
- BUHTAN: Tour operators in Bhutan face uncertainty ahead of the upcoming travel season due to challenges such as border limitations and changes to the Sustainable Development Fees (SDF). Despite reopening its borders, Bhutan has seen a 60% decrease in bookings compared to previous years. Recent SDF incentives haven’t been effective in attracting Asian tourists, particularly those on short visits. Local operators in Phuentsholing also compete with border-side operators, who offer more cost-effective services. Recommendations to the government include reducing the SDF to USD 100 per day and partnering with airlines to lower fares for Indian tourists. In contrast to 2019, when Bhutan welcomed 315,599 tourists, only 75,132 visited from September 2022 to July 2023. Of these, 10,410 were in the USD 65 tariff bracket, showing varied tourist spending habits.
- CANADA: Nearly 20,000 residents of the Canadian city of Yellowknife are ordered to evacuate due to the proximity of wildfires. Although the city is not directly threatened, the fire has come within 17 kilometers of Yellowknife. Without rain, the fire could reach the city by the weekend. Environment Minister Shane Thompson stressed the danger and urged residents to evacuate by noon Friday.
- CHINA: In the first half of 2023, China regained its former position as the second most popular destination for Swiss business travelers, after the United States. In doing so, it overtook the United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore, which occupied the second to fourth places in 2022. According to the AirPlus Business Travel Index, China had fallen to 27th place in 2022 after typically ranking second before the Corona pandemic. Despite this upswing, the number of China tickets sold is still 65 percent below 2019 levels, and total Swiss corporate spending on air tickets increased 46 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2023. In Germany, too, China reclaims second place in the ranking of the most popular business travel destinations for German business travelers.
- FLORIDA: Florida saw its highest international visitor numbers since 2019 in the first half of 2023, with visits from overseas up 21.8% and from Canada up 81.1% compared to the first half of 2022. From April to June 2023, a total of 33.1 million people visited Florida, including 1.9 million from overseas and 846,000 from Canada. Florida set a new record with a total of 70.8 million guests in the first half of the year. According to Dana Young, CEO of Visit Florida, Florida is outpacing other states such as New York and California in terms of international visitors and has led the recovery in overseas arrivals since 2019.
- GREECE: Millions of tourists are visiting Greece this year, and forecasts point to a new record number of visitors. 2019, before the Corona pandemic, was the best tourist year ever for the country, with 33 million guests and revenues of 18 billion euros. Recent data, such as that from the European Aviation Safety Agency Eurocontrol, shows that arrivals and departures in the second week of August 2023 were nine percent higher than in 2019. The National Bank of Greece reports that in the spring quarter of 2023, arrivals were up ten percent and revenues were up 19 percent compared to 2019.
- ICELAND: Iceland’s tourist board, Visit Iceland, has launched an interactive map called „Map of Iceland“ to help visitors plan their trip. With this map, vacationers can customize their itineraries, restaurant visits and activities, focusing on both the entire country and specific regions. The map features photos, contact information and the ability to share planned itineraries. Additionally, it provides inspiration for activities, an overview of nightlife, cultural institutions and helps find accommodations. For travel transportation, the map lists companies that offer bus tours, ferry ports, gas stations and e-charging stations.
- ISRAEL: After a construction period of four years and investments of around EUR 26.8 million, the Waterland Park in Eilat was opened. The park, which covers more than five hectares, features among other things the tallest water tower in the Middle East, water slides for adults and children, a computer-controlled wave pool and various facilities such as an amphitheater and food outlets. Visitors can purchase day or evening tickets. Eilat, as the southernmost city in Israel, offers attractive opportunities for vacationers all year round due to its mild climate. In addition to the park, visitors can enjoy the Red Sea and Dolphin Reef or take excursions to the nearby Negev Desert.
- ITALY: In Italy, tourists are confronted with constantly changing regulations at various tourist sites. While some beaches require reservations, other areas have set a cap on the number of beachgoers. Now, in Puglia, some private beaches have a new, controversial ban: guests are not allowed to bring their own food and drinks. According to a report in the newspaper La Repubblica, some beachgoers have been intimidated by staff when trying to consume their own food. Behind this regulation, many suspect an attempt by beach operators to lure tourists to their often expensive restaurants. Officially, the operators justify the ban by saying they want to avoid bulky coolers that could disturb other guests.
- NEPAL: The fee for climbing Mount Everest is to be increased from USD 11,000 to USD 15,000 in the peak season, a spokesman confirmed. The price increase still needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers and could come into effect in 2025. Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, can be climbed from both Nepal and China. At the same time, the cost of climbing in China is higher than in Nepal. The fees in Nepal were last adjusted in 2015. In China, the cost of a climbing permit for a team of four ranges from $15,800 to $18,000 per person. In addition, there are other costs for equipment, oxygen, accommodation, food and local support teams.
- PERU: The Kuélap Fortress in northern Peru, often referred to as the „Machu Picchu of the North,“ is a testament to the impressive history and beauty of the Amazon region. After more than a year of intensive restoration, it has been reopened to the public. Visitors can now marvel at the majestic walls and stone figures, and gain fascinating insights into the history of the Chachapoyas culture through the circular structures and friezes. Built between the 11th and 14th centuries, Kuélap offers a rich cultural heritage with some 500 houses, a main temple and many offerings.
- SPAIN: In July, overnight stays in Spanish hotels increased by 2.5 percent to 43.1 million. Occupancy was 70 percent, with an average price per room of 129 euros and daily revenue per available room of 96.50 euros. Airfares are the main reason for increased travel costs in Europe. In Spain, room rates vary by hotel category, with Estepona having the highest rates.
- SWITZERLAND: Following a train accident in the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest rail tunnel, there will be prolonged restrictions on rail traffic on Switzerland’s main north-south link. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) expects the tunnel will not be fully reopened to traffic until early 2024. As a result, travelers will have to endure longer travel times, as trains will now run via the Gotthard panorama route, adding 60 minutes to two hours to travel times.
- TURKEY: Eskisehir, central Turkey, recorded 49.5 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature since systematic measurements began about 100 years ago, surpassing the previous record of 49.1 degrees set in July 2021. This information was shared by Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki on the online platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Climate change is cited as the main cause of the ongoing heat waves, although the El Niño weather phenomenon also contributes to the high temperatures. Meteorologist Baris Önol predicts that Turkey will face even higher temperatures in the next 30 to 40 years, which could affect tourism in the Mediterranean region. From 2040, the peak season could shift to the months of September and October.
- VIETNAM: The Vietnamese government has extended visa-free entry for nationals from 13 countries, including Germany, from 15 to 45 days. This means that a visa is no longer required for a stay of up to six weeks. Other countries benefiting from this rule include France, the United Kingdom and Japan. Upon entry, travelers must present a printout of their return or onward ticket and a passport valid for at least six months. The day of entry and exit is considered a full day. Journalists and filmmakers who will be working professionally in Vietnam and stays over 45 days still require a visa. An entry stamp on arrival is mandatory to avoid fines on departure.
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING?
Hey travel aficionados!
Before you finalize that vacation, ADT’s fresh-off-the-press travel safety report is here. Want to know the safest travel spot? Drum roll… It’s Japan! 🎌 Slovakia, Cyprus, and Norway also grace the top ranks. Switzerland makes a solid appearance, known for its tranquillity, though, watch out for those sneaky burglars! On the flip side, destinations such as South Africa, the U.S., Sweden, France, Jamaica, and even Canada have some caution flags up. But hey, danger can be part of the adventure, right? Just be prepared and stay alert!
Ever believed some roads are not just paths, but stories and experiences themselves? Let’s buckle up! Starting with the picturesque Amalfitana in Italy, where steep coastal cliffs blend with narrow village streets to offer a mesmerizing drive. The iconic Route 66 in the USA takes you on a historic journey from Chicago to California. Venture into Bolivia, and you can traverse the vast expanse of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt desert, while the Karakoram Highway promises mountain magic connecting Islamabad and Kashgar. Down under, Australia boasts diverse landscapes: the outback views of the Explorer Highway and the scenic beauty of the Great Ocean Road. But don’t stop there! In South Africa, the vistas of Chapman’s Peak Drive and the Garden Route are unparalleled. And in the cool climes of Canada, the Cabot Trail awaits with its natural beauty and historic treasures. Wherever the road leads, the journey promises to be as delightful as the destination.
Levi, Finland is back with the Tree Hugging World Cup! (Yes, it’s a thing!) Hosted by Hali Puu, this competition promotes the love for nature and inner peace. You’ve got the Quick Hug, the Devotional Hug, and the Freestyle. Want in on the action? Post your best tree hugging snap online by August 26, 2023! Remember, Finland has been championing tree love since 2016.
Seeking some island magic? Kuoni’s got your back! Dive deep in the Astove Atoll, explore the rugged Falkland Islands, indulge in Corsica’s natural beauty, bask in Norway’s Lofoten wonders, or lose yourself in Malaysia’s Pangkor paradise. Each destination is a chapter waiting to be written in your travel story!
Stay safe, travel far, and always, always embrace the adventure.
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