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 AFFECTS BOOKINGS: A recent study conducted by the Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR), Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen (FUR), and technology service provider Tats examined the impact of inflation on travel plans and sales in the distribution industry. The study found that while travel has become more expensive, around 31% of respondents reported no influence on their travel plans, while 16% are now more price-conscious and looking for special offers. Some individuals are opting to save money locally, travel less, or take shorter trips. Sales of package tours and cruises have seen an increase, although insurance services experienced a slight decline. The number of trips taken or sold has also increased, indicating that travelers willing to go are spending more. Online sales have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while brick-and-mortar sales have not yet fully recovered. Limited capacities, especially in the flight sector, necessitate prompt decision-making for desired vacations. Read more
- AGENCY SALES SLIGHTLY ABOVE PREVIOUS YEAR: In June 2023, invoiced sales of participating travel agencies increased by 2.3% compared to the previous year. However, tourism sales experienced an 11.4% decline during the same period. Specific sectors such as cruises and air travel saw sales growth of 13.5% and 13.7%, respectively. Cumulatively, total tourism revenue from January to June 2023 increased by 22.8% compared to the previous year. When comparing to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, total travel agency sales in June 2023 increased by 11.5%, with varying results across sectors. The positive booking trend is expected to continue, and there is a possibility of reaching or surpassing the revenue level of 2019 by the end of the year. Read more
- FTI EXPECTS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL WINTER: The tour operator industry is experiencing a high demand for holidays in distant destinations such as Thailand, the USA, South Africa, Mexico, the Maldives, Egypt, and Austria. The average booking lead time has increased by more than 40% compared to the previous year, indicating a strong desire to travel. Winter bookings for 2023/24 are already well underway, with expectations of a successful season. Prices for vacations are expected to remain stable, and early booking offers savings of up to 50%. Higher-quality accommodations in the four- and five-star range are in demand, reflecting the desire for comfort and self-indulgence. The FTI GROUP is implementing measures to support travel agencies, including providing relevant information in travel documents, integrating additional hotels and destinations into planning systems, and introducing a notepad function for customers to customize their trips. Read more
- TRAVEL PRICES UP, LONG HAUL DESTINATIONS IN DEMAND: Ratehawk has identified three significant trends in this year’s summer vacation. Firstly, the average price of hotel bookings has increased by 8% compared to last year. Secondly, there is a high demand for long-distance destinations, with bookings in Asia, North America, and South Africa doubling compared to 2022. Finally, the average booking window has expanded by 5%, with trips being planned further in advance. Expensive destinations such as Switzerland, Iceland, and the USA are among the most sought-after. The USA is the top destination for hotel bookings, followed by Norway and Japan. Ratehawk’s data suggests a positive trend towards long-distance destinations, as travelers are eager to explore places like Asia and the US after a period of restrictions. Read more
- GERMANS DO NOT WANT TO GIVE UP THEIR VACATION: Despite the economic downturn, Germans are eager to travel, but rising vacation costs are impacting lower-income households. While some can prioritize travel, others must cut back. The tourism industry faces a dual challenge: high demand after COVID-19 and inflationary pressures. Though the German Travel Association has reached pre-pandemic revenue levels, travel numbers are only at 75%. Rising prices, up by 20-40%, have led to fewer budget options. However, guests are indulging in longer, higher-quality trips. Income-dependent, travel decisions vary, with some seeking discounts or reducing travel frequency. Domestic tourism lags behind 2019 levels, mainly due to affordability. Flight disruptions are expected to be minimal this summer. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- AMSTERDAM-SCHIPHOL ALLOWED TO CAP AIR TRAFFIC: The Netherlands has been granted permission to decrease the number of takeoffs and landings at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. A court in Amsterdam overturned a previous decision by an administrative court and declared the government’s order to be lawful. The government’s ruling requires the airport to reduce flights from the current maximum of 500,000 per year to 460,000 from November, with a further reduction to 440,000 flights next year, in order to address noise and carbon dioxide emissions. The court ruled that the government’s order is in compliance with both national and European law. This decision brings an end to a procedure that allowed more flights than permitted for noise reduction reasons since 2015. Airlines, including KLM, had filed a lawsuit against the flight restrictions, arguing that alternatives were not adequately examined and that noise and emissions could be reduced without reducing the number of flights. However, the court determined that the concerns of local residents outweighed the airlines‘ concerns and the interests of the airport and passengers. Read more
- EUROWINGS CANCELS 1700 FLIGHTS: Easyjet, the British low-cost airline, has announced the cancellation of approximately 1,700 flights during the summer vacation period due to strikes, staff shortages, and airspace closures. The majority of the affected passengers have already been rebooked on alternative flights. Most of the cancellations are on routes to and from Gatwick Airport near London. Despite the cancellations, Easyjet still plans to operate around 90,000 flights between July and September. The airline attributed the challenging conditions to airspace closures and potential strikes at Eurocontrol, affecting the entire industry. Experts anticipate a significant increase in departures from the UK in July compared to last year. Read more
- MORE FLIGHTS THAN EVER BEFORE: International air traffic is recovering rapidly from the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by a new record set on July 6. According to the online service „Flightradar 24,“ there were 134,396 commercial flights within 24 hours, the highest number since the service began in 2006. At its peak, more than 20,000 aircraft were in the air simultaneously. The world map shows dense flight activity, with only certain regions having fewer flights. The record is expected to be surpassed this summer, as July and August traditionally see high travel volumes. However, Swiss airspace and Zurich Airport did not break any records on July 6. Overall, air traffic is steadily increasing, approaching pre-pandemic levels. Read more
- SMALL AIRPORTS MAKE SIGNIFICANT GAINS: Smaller airports in Germany are recovering faster from the COVID-19 pandemic than their larger counterparts, according to an analysis by the industry association BDL. Regional airports such as Allgäu Airport, Weeze Airport, Frankfurt-Hahn, and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden have seen significant increases in available seat capacity, surpassing pre-crisis levels. Allgäu Airport, for example, has reached 181% of its 2019 capacity for the second half of 2023. In contrast, larger airports like Düsseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart, and Dresden are still below 2019 levels. Domestic air traffic in Germany remains weaker than before the pandemic, with capacity at 57% of pre-COVID levels. Short- and medium-haul routes and long-haul routes are performing better at 88% and 91% capacity, respectively. Overall, Germany’s recovery in air travel is lagging behind the European average. Read more
- WHICH AIRLINES CANCEL THEIR FLIGHTS MOST OFTEN: An overview by the air passenger rights portal „Flightright“ reveals the airlines with the highest percentage of flight cancellations and delays in Europe from January 1 to June 30, 2023. Swiss performed well in terms of cancellations, ranking 15th out of the 25 airlines surveyed with only 0.8% of flights canceled. British Airways, Lufthansa City Line, and Eurowings had the highest cancellation rates. However, Swiss received a less favorable report card for delays, with nearly one-third of flights departing at least 15 minutes behind schedule. Turkish Airlines, British Airways, and TAP Portugal had the highest delay rates. Passengers of Eurowings, Wideroe’s Flyveselskap, and Binter Canarias enjoyed a high number of on-time departures. Swiss aims to arrive at destinations with delays of no more than 30 minutes on more than 12% of its flights. Read more
- FRANCE: Unrest in France has caused a significant decline in the Safety Feeling Index, according to travel information provider Mabrian. The index dropped by five points in just one week, reaching its lowest level since the beginning of 2023. France has witnessed two waves of violent protests this year, impacting the perception of security. The recent demonstrations have particularly damaged the country’s security image, resulting in a significant decrease in the index. France now has the lowest security index among its European neighbors, trailing behind the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The decline in perceived safety affects major cities like Marseille, Lyon, Nice, and Paris. The situation is concerning, especially considering that Paris is set to host the Olympic Games in 2024, and the current instability and lack of traveler confidence could have a notable impact on the event’s success.
- GREECE: The Acropolis in Athens has experienced a significant increase in visitor numbers this year, with an 80% rise in June and early July compared to 2019. This has led to overcrowding and delays at the entrance. To address this, the Greek Culture Minister has announced measures such as bookable time slots, fast-lane entrances, and e-tickets to manage visitor flow. The lack of visitor guidance has been criticized by World Heritage Watch. Proper management and understanding are crucial to preserve the Acropolis, a globally important site.
- HONDURAS: Honduras is experiencing a surge in violence caused by criminal gangs, prompting the imposition of curfews in several cities. With one of the highest crime rates in the world, Honduras sees thousands of murders annually despite its relatively small population. The rise in violence is largely attributed to youth gangs known as „maras.“ To address this issue, Honduras declared a state of emergency, leading to restrictions on movement and assembly in major cities such as Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Security forces have been granted expanded powers to combat the gangs. Since mid-June, there has been a further escalation of violence, prompting the implementation of a nighttime curfew in San Pedro Sula and Choloma.
- ICELAND: Following the volcanic eruption near the mountain Litli-Hrútur in Iceland, the Foreign Office has updated its safety advice. The immediate vicinity of the volcano may have a concentration of toxic gases that pose health risks, according to the agency’s website. The Icelandic Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management sends text messages to warn residents in the affected region. The volcano is located approximately 40 kilometers from Reykjavik and 15 kilometers from Keflavik International Airport. The impact on air traffic is currently unknown.
- ITALY: Italy has approved a new flows decree to address labor shortages in agriculture and tourism. The decree grants quotas of 136,000 admissions in 2023, 151,000 in 2024, and 165,000 in 2025 for foreign workers. These quotas cover sectors such as tourism, construction, and seasonal work. A supplementary decree also provides an additional quota of 40,000 units for seasonal work in agriculture and tourism. Minister of Tourism, Daniela Santanchè, expressed satisfaction with the decree’s approval.
- JAPAN: Heavy rainfall in western Japan has led to warnings from authorities about the risks of landslides and flooding. In Shimane prefecture, hundreds of thousands of residents have been urged to seek safety as landslides occur in multiple areas and rivers overflow. Temporary interruptions to rail connections have been reported. In the city of Izumo, an emergency call was made after a car fell into a river, and efforts are underway to locate the driver. The National Meteorological Agency in Tokyo has also issued warnings for thunderstorms and heavy rain in various regions across the country in the coming days.
- NIGERIA: The Nigerian Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has announced a significant diphtheria outbreak in the country. Numerous outbreaks have been reported across the country since late last year. There have been 798 confirmed cases through June of this year, of which 80 have been fatal. Although vaccination against diphtheria is routinely offered as part of Nigeria’s childhood immunization schedule and a safe and inexpensive vaccine is available in the country, the vast majority of those infected have not been vaccinated.
- ZANZIBAR: Zanzibar will classify hotels to implement changes in infrastructure tax. The classification will assign star ratings to hotels, enabling the execution of new tax rates. The Zanzibar Revenue Authority emphasizes compliance with the tax increase, aimed at supporting infrastructure development. The revised rates charge $5 for five and four-star hotels, replacing the previous $1 flat rate. Hotel classification will precede the application of new rates. Integration of the tax system with relevant sources is underway, and hotels are encouraged to use electronic payments.
What else is brewing?
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