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
- HOW INFLATION INFLUENCES TRAVEL PLANS: According to a press release from the Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR) association, German consumers are taking cost-cutting measures when it comes to travel. A portion of consumers say they are saving locally, traveling less or taking shorter trips. These savings plans have increased year-on-year in most income categories. At the same time, the number of those unaffected by increased prices has declined. Overall, travel sales have increased significantly more than the number of travelers, based on an analysis by back-office service provider Tats. There was a noticeable increase in sales for package tours and cruises in particular. Only insurance services saw a slight decline. Read more
- VACATION TREND CLEARLY HEADING IN THE DIRECTION OF PRE-PANDEMIC: Market researcher Ulf Sonntag forecasts 65 to 75 million vacation trips by the German population aged 14 and over for the current year. In the worst case, this would be slightly below the previous year’s figure, but in the best case, it would be above the figure for 2019 before the Corona pandemic. The travel industry is seeing a trend toward a return to pre-pandemic habits, with the pendulum swinging back from domestic to international travel. Long-distance travel is more popular again as Corona restrictions have been relaxed. The personal economic situation of many people remains stable, leading to a positive outlook for the second half of the year. Around two-thirds of the German population have concrete travel plans for the rest of the year. However, to achieve a truly successful travel year, some undecideds still need to be inspired to travel. Read more
- FOR ROMANTIC VACATIONS TO SOUTHERN EUROPE: A survey commissioned by Kuoni has revealed that beach vacations in southern Europe are particularly romantic for the Swiss. Of those surveyed in June, 70% associate a stay by the sea with romance, with women (74%) feeling this slightly more strongly than men (65%). Beach vacations were seen as the most suitable type of vacation for romantic experiences of any kind, ahead of city breaks or wellness stays. Italy and Spain were named as perfect vacation destinations for romantic experiences, followed by the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. Although only a few respondents surprised their partner with a marriage proposal on vacation or even got married on the spot, almost one-fifth said that their love relationships had developed at least once during a vacation. Vacation flirtations were reported by 38% of respondents, while 37% spoke of sexual experiences in „special places“ such as beaches during vacations. Read more
- REWE CHIEF SEES NO RELIEF IN TRAVEL PRICES: Lionel Souque, CEO of the Rewe retail and tourism group, does not expect prices for vacation travel to fall next year. Rewe subsidiary Dertour, Europe’s second-largest travel provider, is currently seeing strong growth, both year-on-year and pre-Corona in 2019. Customers‘ booking behavior has changed, as they want to treat themselves to more luxurious options again, such as a hotel room with a sea view or a higher-quality hotel. Greece is particularly popular with customers and has replaced Spain as the most visited vacation destination. City breaks and Caribbean trips were somewhat weaker, but the company is still very satisfied overall and plans to further strengthen tourism. This includes investing in hotels, including new partnerships, leases and the purchase of individual hotels to offer customers exclusive top locations. Read more
- CURRENT BUSINESS TRAVEL TRENDS: Business travelers and companies are increasingly attaching importance to environmental sustainability. According to a survey conducted as part of the „Chefsache Business Travel“ study, 81 percent of business travelers pay attention to CO2 emissions when booking flights. Many even offset the emissions at their own expense. Other measures to improve the ecological footprint include choosing sustainable accommodations, forming car pools and giving preference to electric or hybrid rental cars. The number of business trips has increased compared to 2021, but halved compared to 2019. The VDR Business Travel Analysis 2023 shows an 82 percent increase in travel to a total of 75.1 million. Larger companies are again investing more in business travel, whereas in the past it was assumed that mainly smaller and medium-sized companies would travel. Companies prefer longer business stays to reduce travel costs. The duration of business trips averaged 2.4 days, with larger companies having longer stays. Read more
- THE HOTEL INDUSTRY AND ITS CERTIFICATES: The hotel industry has seen a rise in sustainability certifications, with over 60 labels available in Germany alone. However, medium-sized hotels often find the certification process too burdensome and opt for alternatives. The Dehoga Umweltcheck, tied to Viabona’s relatively loose requirements, has become a popular option for medium-sized hotels, with around 200 hotels certified. Green Sign has emerged as a market leader, attracting notable brands such as Welcome Hotels and Lindner Hotels. These certifications are based on comprehensive sustainability concepts that adhere to ESG criteria (Environment, Social, and Governance). Leonardo and TUI also offer their own certifications, with Leonardo aiming to have all 62 of its German properties Green Key certified by the end of 2023. Some hotel chains, like Grecotel, have set their own high sustainability standards, while others, like Iberostar, have obtained certifications through programs such as Earthcheck. Read more
- SHORT-TERM SUMMER BUSINESS BELOW PREVIOUS YEAR: In May 2023, 78 percent of monthly sales in the travel sector were for vacations in the next six months. Of this, last-minute bookings with last-minute departures in May accounted for 10 percent, summer (June to August) for 47 percent and fall (September/October) for 21 percent. Summer travel agency sales are up 25 percent year-over-year, while online travel sales are up 10 percent. Overall, the current summer season has seen a 22 percent increase in sales compared to last year. Compared to the pre-Corona period of 2019, revenue growth has grown to 3 percent, even though fewer bookings were made. Early bookings were a big contributor to May 2023 sales, with 22 percent of the month’s sales coming from bookings for the upcoming 2023/24 winter season and even the 2024 summer season. These figures show that German citizens are increasingly relying on early bookings to counter inflation. Overall, early booking sales are well above both the previous year and pre-Corona levels at this time. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- SITUATION AT GERMAN AIRPORTS REMAINS FRAGILE: Airports continue to suffer from staff shortages, but ADV, VUSR and Verdi do not expect major flight chaos during the main holiday season. Marija Linnhoff, chairwoman of VUSR, emphasizes the increasing workload of travel agencies due to poorer performance by airlines and tour operators. Short-notice flight changes, delays and cancellations lead to unpaid extra work and increasing resentment among customers. Linnhoff suggests that representatives of all segments join forces in a summit meeting to help travelers have a carefree summer. The German Airports Association (ADV) says the season will be better overall, but peak times could be challenging, depending on the airport and process point. ADV CEO Ralph Beisel emphasizes that the full performance of the processes will only become apparent in the summer months, when terminals, aprons and airspace are permanently exposed to high loads. The airports association expects a 16.4% increase in air travelers in July and August compared with the previous year. Read more
- AIR TICKETS REMAIN EXPENSIVE: Airlines must continue to expect high ticket prices as the supply of new aircraft is scarce, according to a study by credit insurer Allianz Trade. Manufacturers are only slowly recovering from the slump in deliveries in 2020 and will not reach the pre-crisis level of around 1,600 new passenger jets this year either. Despite rising demand and falling jet fuel prices, airlines can increase their profit margins by selling individual seats more expensively. Ticket prices between the U.S. and Europe have increased by an average of 23 percent. Although the airline industry is expected to return to profitability in 2023, the lack of capacity is slowing the airlines‘ surge. According to Allianz Trade, flying will remain expensive. Airline association IATA forecasts show a surplus of $9.8 billion is expected, compared to a pre-pandemic profit of $26.4 billion in 2019. IATA estimates global traffic will be four percent lower this year than in 2019, with growth to 4.35 billion passengers. Read more
- EUROWINGS DISCOVER BECOMES DISCOVER AIRLINES: Lufthansa’s vacation carrier Eurowings Discover is planning to change its name and will probably only call itself Discover. The exact implementation and timing of the name change have not yet been announced. The company EW Discover GmbH has registered the word mark „discover airlines“ with the German Patent and Trademark Office. The airline wants to sharpen its profile as a high-quality leisure airline within the Lufthansa Group and position itself in the upscale vacation and private travel segment. CEO Bernd Bauer had already announced the upcoming changes at an industry event. The airline aims to move closer to Lufthansa, both in service and in its external image. Flight attendants already wear dark blue uniforms, which are different from Eurowings‘ point-to-point airline and similar to Lufthansa’s uniforms. Eurowings Discover was founded two years ago and took over the long-haul operations of Eurowings to operate the long-haul vacation business from Frankfurt and Munich. Read more
- BARBADOS: Germany is the most important source market in continental Europe for Barbados, and from November there will finally be a nonstop connection from Frankfurt again. To further boost business, Barbados plans to open a representative office in Germany. The aim is to raise awareness of the nonstop flight and the island destination and to strengthen cooperation with tour operators and travel agencies. Although Barbados already has a tourism office in Brussels for the German market, it is not possible to have its own representative office in Germany due to a lack of embassy support. The representative office is expected to begin operations in time for Condor’s November launch and will also focus on summer 2024. Barbados sees potential in the summer, as room rates are cheaper and there are many attractive events. In addition, the goal is for Condor to also fly in the summer season. Germany is seen as a market with potential, as Barbados offers more than just sun and beach and German guests appreciate the diversity of the island. In addition to couples, families and long-term guests who want to work „remotely“ are also to be targeted.
- CROATIA: The Dubrovnik City Council has denied reports of a ban on wheeled suitcases in the Old Town. It stresses that tourists with wheeled suitcases will not be penalized in the historic center. However, the city has released an informative animation video to help visitors understand the expectations of Dubrovnik citizens during their visit. The video also includes recommendations on how to handle luggage, as rolling suitcases can cause noise in the early morning hours. The City’s intention is to provide visitors with quality information on acceptable behavior and ensure a more authentic and sustainable experience of Dubrovnik.
- DUBAI: Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is planning to build on the artificial island of Palm Jebel Ali. After years of stagnation, more than 80 hotels and resorts are to be built on the 13.4-square-kilometer island. In addition, the coastline is to be extended by 110 kilometers. Palm Jebel Ali will be able to accommodate over 35,000 families upon completion. The project is part of the „Dubai Urban Master Plan“ for sustainable urban development. Dubai focuses on optimizing the use of existing land and creating space for hotels, tourism and foreign investors. This is the seventh plan of its kind since the city was founded in 1960.
- FRANCE: The recent unrest in France, particularly in Paris, is negatively impacting tourism in the country. Hotel cancellations have been reported in areas with severe protests. Paris, as the most visited city in the world, is significantly affected, which could impact tourism revenues. Concerns about safety have led some Asian tourists to postpone or cancel their trips. However, tourists who are familiar with the situation, such as Belgians or British travelers, may have a better understanding of the circumstances. Some tourists currently in Paris are choosing to continue their trips, expressing confidence in the situation and comparing it to issues in their own countries. The economic damage caused by previous riots and protests in France has been substantial, and the current unrest is causing further damage, with looting and destruction of numerous establishments. Tourism forecasts have been revised downward, and the cancellation rate among international visitors in local hotels is already around 20 to 25 percent. Security advisories from U.S. and British authorities, as well as calls for protection from Beijing, are likely to discourage many tourists from traveling to France this summer.
- GERMANY: The Skywalk suspension bridge in Willingen is now officially open. With a length of 664 meters and a height of over 100 meters, it offers a spectacular view of the Mühlenkopf ski jump and the surrounding landscape. The Tibetan-style bridge allows visitors to walk across it and experience the thrill. Besides the suspension bridge, there are other exciting activities in Willingen such as climbing and abseiling from towers.
- GREECE: Tourism will bring revenues of 39.2 billion euros to the Greek economy this year, down only four percent from the pre-Corona year of 2019. At that time, tourism’s contribution to the economy was 40.8 billion euros. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector will almost return to 2019 levels by the end of the year. Tourism currently accounts for 18.5 percent of the Greek economy. In 2020, the United Kingdom and Germany were the main markets for international arrivals in Greece, with 14 percent each, and Bulgaria with 10 percent. It is estimated that spending by foreign visitors contributed 19.1 billion euros to the national economy.
- ISRAEL: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is continuing on its course to expand the range of accommodations in the desert. The Land Authority for the Promotion of Desert Tourism has issued two tenders: for the construction of a desert hotel near Yeruham Lake Park and for the construction of four desert tourism complexes with a tourist-agricultural orientation. These projects are intended to meet the increasing demand for hotels in the desert city of Yeruham. Approximately 1.5 million tourists travel to the Israeli desert annually. The planned accommodations include a 250-room desert hotel and four ecotourism farms with a total of up to 96 guest rooms. In addition, the equivalent of 25 million euros will be invested in the development of the tourist infrastructure, including the expansion of Yeruham Lake Park, the development of boardwalks and the establishment of picnic areas.
- ITALY: Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s cabinet has approved changes to the Highway Code to tighten rules for e-scooters in Italy. The new regulations include mandatory helmets, the purchase of insurance and the use of a license plate for e-scooter riders. In addition, parking the scooters on sidewalks is to be banned. The new regulations still need to be approved by Parliament. Italy is responding to several accidents and complaints about inadequate behavior by e-scooter users.
- LIBANON: The German Foreign Office has issued a partial travel warning for Lebanon due to increased tensions in the border area with Israel. Travel to the area near the border with Israel continues to be warned, and stays south of the Litani River are strongly discouraged. There have already been rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory, resulting in countermeasures by Israeli forces. The German Foreign Office recommends that German citizens register on the crisis precaution list. Partial travel warnings are in effect for several areas, including Hermel, Baalbek, Britel, Hortalaa, El Nabi Chit and their surroundings, as well as areas near the borders with Syria and Israel. Travel to certain districts and cities is strongly discouraged, including Tripoli and areas south of the Litani River.
- NAMIBIA: Namibia plans to become a leading exporter of green ammonia. The joint venture Hyphen Hydrogen will implement a large hydrogen project based on wind and solar energy. With an investment of $10 billion in wind farms and photovoltaic plants, Namibia aims to produce up to 2 million tons of green ammonia annually for export. This project has the potential to strengthen Namibia’s economy and attract sustainable tourism.
- PARAGUAY: For a classic vacation trip to Paraguay, German citizens still do not need special entry permits. However, a visa is now required for longer stays and for taking up gainful employment. The visa must be applied for before entry at the Paraguayan mission abroad or after entry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Office draws attention to this and recommends that you obtain information about the current residence regulations from the Paraguayan embassy in Berlin or the migration authority.
- TANZANIA: Serengeti National Park in Tanzania has been voted as the third premium nature destination in the world for 2023 by nature and outdoor enthusiasts. This recognition raises Tanzania’s profile as a premier tourism destination in Africa. The annual travelers‘ choice award organized by Trip Advisor revealed that Serengeti ranked alongside Mauritius and Kathmandu as the top three destinations. Serengeti is renowned for its annual migration, where millions of wildebeests, zebras, and other animals travel over 1,800 miles in search of grass. The park, established in 1952, is known for its natural beauty, scientific value, and abundant wildlife. The Conservation Commissioner of Tanzania National Parks expressed gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the efforts to conserve Serengeti’s ecosystem and provide exceptional tourism services.
- THAILAND: Authorities on the Thai island of Koh Samui are battling a persistent water shortage caused by a lack of rain and an increase in tourism. The public is being urged to use water sparingly, and measures are being taken to bring in water from other areas and private reservoirs. The island hopes to survive the next two months before rain is expected. There are fears that the El Niño weather phenomenon could lead to an even greater water shortage this year. The increasing number of tourists on the island has also had an impact on water and waste management, as available rooms have recovered to 2019 levels.
- TURKEY: Tourist arrivals in Antalya increased by 27.9 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year. A total of 5.5 million foreign tourist arrivals were recorded, with Russia accounting for the largest share with 1.3 million arrivals, followed by Germany with 1.2 million arrivals and the United Kingdom with 520,569 arrivals. This is according to data from the Antalya Tourism Authority. In addition to Russia and Germany, Great Britain and Poland also play an important role as source markets. There is also increasing demand from Belgium and the Netherlands, while Serbia, the Czech Republic, Moldova and Albania are among the emerging markets in Eastern Europe. Antalya’s tourism industry expects the number of foreign tourist arrivals to continue to rise this year, targeting a total of 16 million tourists. The season is expected to last until the end of November.
What else is brewing?
Welcome, fellow wanderers, to our beloved section of the newsletter, „What Else is Brewing?“ Here, we dive into the exciting and captivating stories from the world of travel that are guaranteed to leave you inspired and yearning for your next adventure. Join us as we unravel the latest happenings in the travel industry, from thrilling escapades to groundbreaking initiatives and everything in between. So, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let us transport you to the realm of captivating tales and wanderlust-inducing wonders. Cheers to new discoveries and endless possibilities!
The business of extreme travel is booming, and it’s not just for the faint-hearted! Wealthy tourists are seeking out increasingly extreme destinations and taking high risks in their quest for adrenaline-pumping adventures. From diving expeditions to the Titanic wreck to commercial space trips offered by companies like Blue Origin, these daredevils are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The adventure travel market was valued at a whopping $282 billion in 2021, and experts predict it will continue to grow until 2030. So, are you ready to take on the next thrilling challenge?
Sweden is about to take sustainable architecture to new heights with the Stockholm Wood City project! Starting in 2025, this ambitious endeavor will create the world’s largest urban construction project made entirely of wood. Covering 60 acres of land in the Sickla area of Stockholm, it will offer 7,000 office spaces and 2,000 homes, forming a vibrant and eco-friendly community. By using wood as the primary building material, the project aims to reduce the climate impact of buildings by up to 50% and significantly decrease construction time. Embracing nature while promoting sustainability, Sweden once again leads the way towards a greener future.
Imagine a world where passenger planes are piloted by artificial intelligence. It may seem like science fiction, but aviation experts like Emirates Airline President Tim Clark and Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun believe it could become a reality. While the technical prerequisites for autonomous flights are within reach, it will still be some time before we see AI pilots in action. Startups like Pyka have already developed autonomous aircraft, such as the Pelican Spray for agricultural purposes and the emission-free Pelican Cargo for transporting goods. As we move closer to zero-emission travel, responsible evaluation of AI’s potential is crucial.
In a twist worthy of a Hollywood movie, a cunning fraudster managed to enjoy a nearly two-year stay at a luxurious hotel in New Delhi, India, without paying a dime! By greasing the palms of hotel employees, this crafty individual evaded detection and left behind an unpaid bill amounting to around 63,000 francs. The authorities are now investigating both the alleged fraudster and the hotel employees suspected of manipulating the billing software. A reminder that even in the glamorous world of travel, there are always some who try to take advantage of the system.
Get ready to embark on a revolutionary journey with Ponant, the French shipping company that is making waves in the cruise industry. With sustainability at the helm, Ponant has set its sights on creating the world’s first zero-emission cruise ship, charting a course toward a greener future on the high seas. Picture this: a magnificent 180-meter sailing ship that glides through the waters, leaving behind not a trace of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, Ponant plans to launch a vessel that will embody the very essence of sustainable luxury, delivering an extraordinary cruising experience while treading lightly on our precious planet.
That’s all for this edition of our travel newsletter! We hope these stories have sparked your wanderlust and fueled your curiosity for the ever-evolving world of travel. Remember, whether you’re diving into the depths of the ocean or exploring wooden wonders, always stay safe, respect the environment, and embrace the thrill of adventure!
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