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 INDUSTRY EXPECTS CONTINUING HIGH SALES: Sentiment in the executive suites of tour operators and travel agencies deteriorated slightly in August 2023, according to the Ifo Business Climate Index. The index fell by 3.6 points from July to August to 13.8 points, although this is still significantly better than the minus 14.7 points in August of the previous year. Nevertheless, there are also positive signals: the assessment of the current business situation improved from 24.9 points in July to 27.7 points in August. Business expectations rose from minus 10.1 points in July to plus 0.8 points in August. There was also a slight improvement in the sales trend, from 28.6 points in July to 29.4 points in August. An increase of 11.2 points was recorded for sales expectations compared with the previous month, with a value of 38.9 points in August. Read more
- BUSINESS TRAVEL – IT’S GETTING EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE: Prices for flights and hotels have risen significantly in 2022 and 2023, leading to cuts in the travel budgets of many companies. Airlines are making high operating profits by keeping supply low despite high demand. Many companies are trying to cut costs by traveling less for business and holding more virtual conferences. While the International Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecasts a recovery by 2024, most companies do not believe pre-Corona levels will be regained. Further price increases are expected for the remainder of 2023 and 2024, but on a more moderate scale. In Germany, airfares have risen particularly sharply, as have the costs of hotels worldwide. Rental cars are also becoming more expensive. According to CWT CEO Patrick Andersen, this price increase is likely to continue and represent the „true new cost of travel.“ Whether private vacationers can fill the vacuum created by less business travel remains unclear. If not, airlines and hotels may be forced to adjust their prices to win back business travelers. Read more
- HOTEL RATES CONTINUE TO RISE: Global hotel rates continued to rise over the summer, with average daily rates (ADR) up 6.3% year-over-year in July. In Europe, the increase was as high as 13.4%. Analysts see the slowdown in price increases as a possible sign of stabilization. More moderate price increases are expected in 2024. France saw the largest increase, with ADR rising 87% above pre-Corona levels. Despite the price increases, hotel occupancy in Europe remains below pre-pandemic levels. Asia Pacific saw the strongest growth in revenue per available room (Revpar), while the Americas saw the slowest growth. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- RIVER CRUISE NEEDS EVEN LONGER TO RECOVER: IG River Cruise reports a slow recovery in the river cruise industry in its 2022 market study. Although passenger numbers are up compared to 2021, they lag behind the pre-Corona numbers of 2019. Trip length and average cruise prices have increased, while the premium segment and younger age group have lost customer share. The Rhine and Danube remain the most popular cruising areas. The industry’s expansion plans have been dampened by the pandemic, and the shortage of skilled workers is also having an impact. Nevertheless, the industry is optimistic about the future. Read more
- MORE PASSENGERS IN THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS AT BER: During this year’s summer vacations, Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) recorded around 3.5 million air travelers, an increase of half a million compared to the previous year. Despite this increase, the number of passengers remains far below the 5 million who still used Berlin’s Tegel and Schoenefeld airports in 2019. Passengers had the choice this summer of traveling from Berlin to 141 destinations in 47 countries with 66 different airlines. Particularly popular destinations were Turkey, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece and France. According to an airport spokesperson, baggage handling was mostly stable, with a wait time of less than 30 minutes from aircraft docking to the start of the baggage carousel. There were only isolated delays, mostly due to staff shortages caused by illness or bad weather. Looking ahead, the next big rush of travelers is expected on October 20, the day the fall vacations begin in Berlin. This period is traditionally one of the busiest passenger periods of the year at BER. Read more
- EMIRATES RECORDS 57 PERCENT MORE PASSENGERS: Emirates airline has recorded one of its busiest summers, with over 14 million passengers between June and August. From Germany in particular, the airline saw a year-on-year increase of 57 percent. Average flight load factor was around 80 percent, supported by a 45 percent increase in capacity. Emirates currently offers 63 weekly non-stop flights from various German cities to Dubai. For the upcoming winter season, Emirates expects a further increase in demand for Dubai travel, attracted by global conferences and sporting events. Read more
- ZRH MAKES HIGHEST HALF-YEAR PROFIT: In the first half of 2023, Flughafen Zürich AG generated a profit of CHF 138 million, the second-highest half-year profit in the company’s history. Total revenues amounted to CHF 577 million, an increase of 26% compared to the previous year. Flight revenues increased by 35% to CHF 279 million, while non-aviation revenues increased by 18% to CHF 298 million. EBITDA increased by 36% to CHF 324 million. 13.1 million passengers used the airport in the first half of the year, an increase of 44% year-on-year. However, cargo volumes fell by 13%. The airport invested CHF 161 million in various projects and resumed construction work after a corona-related pause. The company is also expanding internationally, with developments in India and a new concession in Brazil. The referendum for a runway extension project is scheduled for 2024. Read more
- BRAZIL: The Grand Hotel Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro celebrated its 100th birthday with a big party and around one million guests. The highlight was a concert by the well-known Brazilian DJ Alok, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Opened in 1923, the five-star hotel is an icon in Rio and has hosted numerous international celebrities over the years.
- FINLAND: Finland launched a pilot project for digital travel documents on August 28, 2023, making it the first country in the world to test such documents. The project, which runs until February 2024 and is co-funded by the EU Commission, involves Finnair flights to London, Manchester and Edinburgh. To participate, travelers must be Finnish citizens and register once with the police. This involves reading a chip in the physical passport and taking a facial photo to create a digital travel document. This document is intended to be equally reliable as a physical passport and allow faster and smoother border crossing without compromising security.
- FLORIDA: Hurricane Idalia caused massive destruction and flooding in Florida and Georgia. At least one person was killed in Georgia. The storm has weakened to a tropical storm, but remains dangerous and is expected to reach the coast of North Carolina. Schools and hospitals have been evacuated, and many people are without power. The U.S. government continues to warn of the ongoing threat, including possible tornadoes. It is too early to assess the full extent of the damage, but preliminary figures suggest billions of dollars in damage.
- FRANCE: A swarm of flying ants has led to the temporary closure of several beaches on the French Atlantic coast. The coastal town of Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez and other neighboring towns such as Bretignolles-sur-Mer and Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie closed their beaches as a precaution after strong storms and the appearance of the insects. Many tourists had already left the beaches for fear of insect bites. The warning was later lifted. It is suspected that the heat wave and emerging storms may have contributed to the increased accumulation of the insects.
- ITALY: The city of Rome is battling an increased incidence of rats and mice in the area around the Colosseum, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Videos and pictures had surfaced on social media of rodents burrowing through trash and food scraps left behind. The city government immediately initiated pest control measures, including setting traps and checking manholes. In addition, the litter left behind was removed. According to environmental assessor Sabrina Alfonsi, the situation was „absolutely under control.“ She indicated that the heat and the tourist rush this summer have led to increased trash in the area. The city is planning further rat control measures in cooperation with the Colosseum’s administration.
- NEW YORK: A new law in New York will significantly restrict Airbnb offerings in the city. Under the law, all hosts must register, and for stays of less than 30 days, the host must be present. Airbnb unsuccessfully sued against the law. The platform is particularly profitable in New York, generating $85 million in net revenue from short-term rentals in 2022. Despite previous attempts at regulation, the number of Airbnb listings in the city has remained high, and it is unclear whether the platform is contributing to the housing shortage. The law was originally scheduled to go into effect in July, but was postponed until September 5.
- PHILIPPINES: The Philippines are planning to open up parts of the disputed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea for tourism to bolster their territorial claims. They are already offering a seven-day „Freedom Expedition“ for about $2,000. However, since the archipelago is also claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia, resistance to tourism development by the Philippines is to be expected. It is considered unlikely that the area will soon become a tourist hotspot; instead, the move could lead to geopolitical tensions and a negative impact on international tourism.
- SCOTLAND: The Jacobite train, known as the Hogwarts Express, once again runs daily through the Scottish Highlands from Fort William to Mallaig. It crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous from the Harry Potter films. Operations were recently halted due to problems with the carriage doors, but after a safety review by operator West Coast Railway, an exemption was granted in mid-August. The train will run until November 30.
- SWITZERLAND: The Swiss Tourism Federation (STV) has launched a campaign called „Tourism Elections 2023“ to highlight the importance of the tourism sector for the Swiss economy. The campaign aims to encourage the population to vote for tourism-friendly candidates in the National Council elections on October 22. An online voting guide on the website tourismuswahlen.ch provides information on the candidates‘ positions on tourism. In 2021, tourism contributed 35.4 billion Swiss francs in sales, and the sector also influences numerous other industries in Switzerland.
- TURKEY: Hotel room rates in Antalya and Istanbul have risen significantly, calling into question the achievement of the Turkish tourism industry’s ambitious revenue targets. Especially the decline of Russian tourists and Turkish domestic tourism, caused by the fall of the ruble and a high inflation rate in Turkey, are burdening the industry. Compared to other destinations such as Egypt, Turkey is losing ground. Bentour CEO Deniz Ugur suggests supplementing the usual all-inclusive packages with cheaper „basic packages“ to reduce costs. This could involve, for example, dispensing with alcohol, which is expensive in the country due to high taxes. Whether this measure could increase demand remains to be seen.
- UK: Nearly 300 flights at major UK airports have been canceled, although a technical glitch described as the „biggest in nearly a decade“ was fixed Monday. The flight schedule at London Heathrow, Britain’s largest airport, remains „significantly disrupted.“ Transport Minister Mark Harper has announced an investigation. The disruption affected the automatic processing of flight plans, which had to be handled manually.
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING?
It’s time for our weekly deep-dive into the hottest travel stories!
Hold your eco-friendly hats, sustainable travelers! According to a study by Euromonitor, Sweden, Finland, and Austria are leading the world in sustainable travel. But wait, there’s more! For the first time, Uruguay broke into the top 20, proving that sustainability knows no borders. And when it comes to cities, Melbourne, Madrid, and Seville are the go-to spots for guilt-free gallivanting. With 80% of travelers willing to pay extra for a green vacation, it’s no wonder countries are doubling down on eco-initiatives. So, the next time you think of planning a trip, consider giving these destinations a whirl!
Who doesn’t love the allure of a non-stop flight? Sam Chui, an aviation journalist, has unveiled the ten longest non-stop flights in the world, and the list is exhilarating! Top of the list? Singapore to New York, clocking in at a staggering 15,348 km and nearly 19 hours of air time! With advances in aviation technology, any place on Earth is less than a day away. Qatar Airways, Air Tahiti Nui, and Qantas have even more ambitious plans in the pipeline. The sky’s literally the limit!
What’s lurking in the depths of Scotland’s Loch Ness? That question might finally be answered this weekend, thanks to the largest Loch Ness Hunt in 50 years! Monster enthusiasts from across the globe will be tuning in via livestream, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie. Don your detective hats, people, the game’s afoot!
If you spent this summer sipping Limoncello on the Italian coast, your bank account might be crying. This season has been dubbed one of the most expensive in Italian history. The culprits? Inflated prices for almost everything—from beach umbrellas to baby bottle warm-ups! Despite the steep costs, international tourism remains strong, while locals are heading to budget-friendly destinations like Albania and Montenegro.
Looking for some peace and quiet at 35,000 feet? Corendon Airlines is offering a child-free zone on its Amsterdam to Curaçao route. The Adults-Only area aims to provide a tranquil flying experience, although previous attempts by other airlines haven’t quite taken off. Will Corendon be able to crack the code? Time will tell!
That wraps up our round-the-world journey for this week! Until next time, may your horizons be broad and your adventures endless.
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