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
- Consumer sentiment continues to deteriorate: The August figures are predominantly worse than the July figures. Only one in three travel agencies (bricks-and-mortar or online) still reports a good business situation for the sale of travel services. In July, this figure was still just under 55 percent. At just over 14 percent, the proportion of agencies that rate their situation as „poor“ is more than twice as high as a month ago. This time, a good 53 percent gave the rating „satisfactory“ (previously just under 39 percent). Expectations have also sobered up: only 26.4 percent expect demand for travel services to increase in the next six months (compared with 49.1 percent in July). Just under 53 percent (July: 37.5 percent) expect stagnation, and 20.7 percent (July: 13.4 percent) currently expect demand to fall. If you combine the business situation and expectations, you get a climate index of 107.6, which is respectable in a long-term comparison. After all, the monthly values in 2019 – and thus in the last year before Corona – ranged between 88.5 and 101.3. Read more
- Summer balance survey: „Not so much different from a „normal“ summer“: This summer, the Swiss are taking advantage of their regained freedom to travel. Between July 1 and August 21, 2022, the most vacation flights took vacationers to Mallorca. According to the Tagesanzeiger, there are a total of 477 according to the analysis of departure data on the website of Zurich Airport by the news agency AWP. Mallorca is followed as popular vacation destinations by the beaches of Antalya, destinations on the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal. „Many people have already booked their summer vacations in May and June. But we had more last minute than normal,“ says Paul Gosteli. At webook.ch, too, mainly summer and fall vacations were booked from spring on. There were „fewer last minute than feared, most people know they have to book early,“ says Nathalie Sassine. Engel Reisen’s sales were up 87 percent in July 2022 compared to July 2019, according to owner Andrea Engel, after orders were received. At Geotours, people found it „much easier to plan trips because many regulations have been lifted. People have confidence again that the trip can be done,“ says Paul Gosteli. At webook, the summer even went almost as usual. „The feared problems were largely absent. A few customers stopped and had to be rebooked because flights were cancelled at very short notice. The rebookings before the summer vacations were troublesome, but most were easily solvable. All in all, not that much different from a „normal“ summer,“ says Nathalie Sassine. Helbling Reisen is currently seeing an increase in last-minute bookings for September and October. At the same time, her expired Covid vaccination certificate is an issue for many customers, she says. „Many are not aware that intercontinental vaccinations usually do not expire, but that you are simply considered „fully vaccinated,“ says Birgit Sleegers. „People’s minds are buzzing about the expiration of the certificates, and it seems to me that this causes a bit of uncertainty in bookings. We often hear the answer ‚we are already vaccinated, but our certificate has expired‘.“ Here the travel consultants would have to educate the customers more, as there are now many destinations where vaccinated people can simply enter. Read more
- Germans‘ desire for long-distance travel is back: After the opening of their borders, popular long-haul destinations are immediately back in high demand among customers, says Jeanette Buller, Director Sales Europe of G Adventures, in a round of talks at the community platform Counter Place of fvw|TravelTalk. This is especially true for Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. However, the pandemic caution of customers is still noticeable in short-term bookings. „For our customers, there are currently about three months between booking and departure. Before the pandemic it was four and a half months,“ says Buller. The group of experts sees the reason for this in the fear of short-term restrictions. Nevertheless, the experts are optimistic about the winter season: the successful summer of long-haul travel shows that customers once again have the courage to book a long-haul trip. Even rising prices are not keeping them away. The fact that a holiday in Thailand, for example, often costs less than a trip to Europe is an argument in favour of long-distance travel. Yesim Tasöz from the Schwabach travel agency advises travel agents to point this out during the consultation. Read more
- Price increase: vacationers will still travel: Despite sharp price increases in daily life, the Corona-related catch-up effect is keeping bookings strong. But there are signals that the situation could change. The Civey institute reports that 18 percent of Germans are planning cheaper or shorter vacations because of inflation. The agency Shapefruit sees an increased „trend toward saving“ in tourism. From this, it has derived various future theses. touristik aktuell has presented some of these to tour operator experts for discussion. One of these theses states that people long for security. Destinations such as Germany would benefit from this, also due to high kerosene prices. Long-haul destinations will be less in demand in the future. Steffen Boehnke takes a more differentiated view. According to the TUI product manager for Sun & Beach, not all faraway countries are affected by price increases. For Thailand or the USA, for example, there is pent-up demand. In addition, the Maldives and the Dominican Republic would continue to profit. Dertour product manager Sven Schikarsky knows: „More than 60 percent of winter bookings are currently on long-haul routes. The winter trend toward sun destinations on the medium and long-haul routes will continue.“ In addition, there are no significant price increases at DER Touristik for the winter, he said. The Group purchased hotel and flight capacity months ago at the prices prevailing at the time and is thus cheaper on average than booking portals, as these charge the prices current at the time of booking. Read more
- Business travel does not recover fully until 2026: In its last study, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicted that companies would spend exactly as much on business travel again as early as 2024 as they did in 2019. In view of various crises, experts now consider this to be realistic only for late 2025/early 2026. At present, business travel agency chains and payment providers report that they have already returned to a similar level of sales in the business travel sector in recent months as before the pandemic. For example, billing volumes at corporate credit card specialist Airplus are at 90 percent of 2019 levels (in Germany), and travel management company (TMC) Amex GBT was still looking at more than 76 percent at the end of the second quarter of 2022. Instead of mid-2024, business travel is now not expected to recover until late 2025/early 2026 – 18 months later. According to the GBTA’s latest Business Travel Index, now released at the association’s annual meeting in San Diego, California, annual business travel spending will reach the level of 1.39 trillion euros by the end of 2025. Before the pandemic, they were at the level of 1.4 trillion euros worldwide. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany and Europe
- The range of flights offered by Bern Airport in the summer of 2022 is meeting with high demand: While long waiting times and delays characterize the picture at many major foreign airports, flights can be handled punctually at Bern Airport. „Flying from Bern is very popular with the population, and the flights on offer in summer 2022 are in high demand,“ says the CEO. The average load factor of the flights is currently around 90%, he said. On the main travel days, most destinations were regularly fully booked. Based on the positive experience in the previous year, the various travel providers have expanded the range of flights for the summer of 2022. A total of 12 destinations will be offered from Bern this summer. According to Ryf, around four times as many passengers used Bern Airport compared to the previous year. Compared to 2019, passenger numbers would be up 20%. Read more
- Airlines make bookings complicated: On their way to the ticket purchase air passengers are often put on hard patience tests. According to a comparative test presented on Wednesday by the air passenger rights portal Airhelp, 49 clicks are required in the Internet booking process of the Portuguese airline TAP before the customer is asked to enter payment data. Egypt Air came second to last in the ranking with 39 clicks, ahead of Easyjet with 37 clicks. It is much easier for passengers to reach their destination with the Greek airline Aegan and Lufthansa, where only 15 clicks are needed to select a flight with all the relevant information. At the British low-cost airline Easyjet, booking also takes a particularly long time at four minutes, as the comparison commissioned by the flight rights portal Airhelp revealed. In front in this discipline Virgin Atlantic Airways with 72 seconds lies before the vacations flier Sundair with 78 seconds. Airhelp CEO Tomasz Pawliszyn advises airlines to use simple processes to win over more customers. Read more
- More pay-scale employees as solution for 2023 for German airports: To avoid renewed handling chaos next year, German airport service providers want to recruit more pay-scale employees. The attempted recruitment of temporary staff from Turkey this year will not be pursued again for 2023, said the head of the Employers‘ Association of Ground Handlers (ABL), Thomas Richter, on Thursday. At the end of the day, he said, one cannot declare an emergency situation to politicians every year. „We are counting on having a uniform area collective agreement with attractive conditions next year to attract enough workers.“ According to his information, only about 150 temporary workers will be deployed at German airports this year through a Turkish personnel service provider instead of the planned 2,000, Richter said. The weak use is partly explained by the time delays, Richter said. In North Rhine-Westphalia, he said, the vacation season had ended and Fraport, potentially the biggest user, had made a different decision. The Frankfurt airport operator had criticized the lack of qualifications of the temporary workers. „It was clear from the beginning that it could only be about helping hands. I am surprised that people are surprised about this,“ said the initiator of the whole action. In early summer, the industry associations had urged that 2,000 temporary workers from Turkey be allowed to be hired on easier terms, for example for baggage services. After coordination of three Federal Ministries the actually prescribed examination was renounced whether for the jobs German employees are available. Read more
- Lufthansa cancels more flights in winter: The extra work with Lufthansa tickets remains for the time being for the sales department: According to a communication from the airline to travel sales, further flight cancellations have been made – for flights in the entire winter flight schedule until next March. According to its own information, Lufthansa this week made flight cancellations on an unspecified scale for the entire winter flight schedule 2022/23 (end of October to the end of March). The goal continues to be, as with the previous rounds of cancellations, to be able to „offer passengers a reliable and plannable flight schedule.“ Read more
- Chile: The South American Andean country is making it easier for vaccinated persons to enter the country and thus wants to promote the entry of vaccinated tourists, it says. Those whose protection is no longer sufficient must in future take a PCR test shortly before departure.
- Greece: Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias expects more visitors than in 2019, when 33 million people vacationed in Greece. Tourism revenues are expected to rise to 20 billion euros this year. The signs are good for this: since the beginning of August, almost one million tourists have been arriving in Greece by plane every week. Even in early September, travelers would need luck and a full wallet to find a room on popular islands.
- Japan: As of September 7, triple-vaccinated tourists will again be allowed to enter Japan without having to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. As before, individual tourism remains prohibited; travel is only permitted in the context of guided groups.
- Singapore: As of August 29, travelers who are not fully vaccinated will no longer be required to undergo seven days of self-isolation upon arrival in Singapore. The PCR test upon exit will also be waived. Further, a test no more than two days old is required upon entry. Short-term visitors who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to purchase Covid 19 travel insurance for the duration of their stay in Singapore. In addition, the indoor mask requirement will be lifted on August 29. Public transport such as the metro and public buses will be exempt. The wearing of masks on private transport such as private bus services or cabs is optional.
- Turkey: Against expectations, tourism in Turkey is picking up significantly, attracting mainly Germans, Russians and Britons to the country. In July alone, the number of foreign holidaymakers climbed within a year by 53% to 6.67 million and thus exceeded the level of before the Corona pandemic, as shown on Monday from official figures. Russian tourists, who were thought to be staying away in May, were the main reason for a sharp increase last month. But due to flight cancellations by numerous countries, Turkey is now benefiting from a surprising increase. In addition, the recent weakness of the lira makes the country even more attractive: The currency has lost 27% this year, having already lost more than 40% of its value in 2021.
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