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
- UNVEILING Q2 2023: TRAVELPULSE GIVES INSIGHTS: In the second quarter of 2023, European travelers exhibited unwavering enthusiasm for exploration, undeterred by rising travel costs. The United Kingdom emerged as the frontrunner in travel intent, but it was Italy that stole the spotlight in bookings, capturing the hearts of adventurers with its rich cultural heritage and scenic landscapes. The Mediterranean region, with its sun-soaked allure, continued to be the top choice for European travelers, reaffirming its status as a summer dream destination. Despite the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel market showed signs of recovery as restrictions eased. Europeans embraced the opportunity to break free from their homes and embark on long-awaited journeys. Spain, Italy, and Greece emerged as the leading destinations, captivating travelers with their vibrant cultures, picturesque coastlines, and historical wonders. Additionally, Turkey experienced a surge in bookings, acting as a bridge between East and West. Q2 witnessed a fascinating blend of planning styles among European travelers. While early bookings remained prevalent, an intriguing trend of last-minute bookings emerged, adding an element of spontaneity to travel plans. Last-minute bookings skyrocketed by 50%, particularly for short-haul destinations, attracting not only solo adventurers but also couples, families, and groups. The duration of European getaways showcased a preference for week-long escapes, regardless of the chosen destination. Whether lounging on the sun-kissed beaches of Spain or indulging in the cultural riches of Italy, a week provided the ideal balance of relaxation and exploration. As Q3 approached, longer stays of 8 to 14 days started to gain popularity, enticing travelers to immerse themselves more deeply in their chosen destinations. Overall, European travelers in Q2 demonstrated a resilient spirit and an unwavering desire to embrace the world. Despite the challenges posed by rising costs, the allure of the Mediterranean and the cultural gems of Spain, Italy, and Greece continued to captivate adventurers. With a blend of careful planning and spontaneous decisions, travelers embarked on transformative journeys, creating cherished memories in the year of discovery that is 2023. Read more
- GERMAN TRAVEL TRENDS: EMBRACING SUSTAINABLE MINDFULNESS AND FLEXIBILITY IN 2023: There are several travel trends among German tourists this summer. Sustainable mindfulness travel is on the rise, with 36% open to meditation and mindfulness trips in 2023. Long-distance hiking is gaining popularity, with hikers seeking a touch of luxury along the way. Self-drive adventures have become a favorite choice, with flexibility and freedom to explore at their own pace. Flight + car rental combinations are in high demand, offering travelers flexibility upon arrival. Camper travel continues to be popular, providing freedom and flexibility on four wheels. Train journeys offer scenic experiences through breathtaking landscapes. The cruise industry is booming, particularly in the Mediterranean, with new options such as Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream. Domestic travel within Germany remains popular, with coastal areas and cities like Berlin and Hamburg attracting visitors. Off-peak travel and discovering lesser-known regions are strategies to avoid crowds. These trends showcase German travelers‘ desire for mindful, sustainable, and flexible travel experiences this summer. Read more
- EVERY FOURTH DESTINATION EXCEEDS 2019 LEVEL: European tourism continues its strong recovery as international arrivals approach or exceed pre-pandemic levels, with some destinations surpassing previous records, according to the European Travel Commission (ETC). Despite inflation and increased travel costs, travel remains a priority for consumers. Strategies to manage the increased demand and avoid overtourism are crucial for European destinations. Price-conscious travel decisions are prevalent, and destinations offering better value for money are benefiting. The recovery of air travel is catching up, driven by increased capacities of airlines in Europe and overseas. However, potential disruptions such as strikes and airspace closures remain concerns. The United States, leveraging favorable exchange rates, is expected to lead the recovery of many European destinations, although affordability will play a crucial role in destination choices due to high inflation and possible recessionary effects on American households. Read more
- THIS IS WHAT SWISS TRAVELERS COMPLAIN MOST ABOUT: Swiss travelers have gained a reputation for being experts in expressing their dissatisfaction, particularly when it comes to their vacation experiences. Whether it’s a minor annoyance or a major inconvenience, Swiss individuals are not hesitant to voice their complaints. A recent survey conducted by Travel Inside sought to uncover the most common grievances expressed by Swiss travelers. The findings were unequivocal: flight delays emerged as the leading cause of complaints, cited by over a third of the respondents (38%). This issue dominated the list by a significant margin. Following closely behind, with 13% of the votes, were complaints about „unclean rooms.“ Another noteworthy concern was „poor-quality food,“ which garnered the dissatisfaction of one in ten respondents. Additional grievances included „unpleasant fellow guests at hotels“ (9%), „subpar hotel experiences“ (8%), „excessive noise in and around the hotel premises“ (7%), „high costs of living at the destination“ (6%), „insufficient availability of sun loungers“ (5%), and „overcrowded buffet areas“ (4%). Read more
- KUONI TRAVEL INDEX REVEALS BOOKINGS SURGE AND POPULAR SUMMER DESTINATIONS: Kuoni, a travel brand under DER Touristik Suisse AG, releases the Kuoni Travel Index quarterly to provide insights into Swiss travel booking trends and popular destinations. The second edition of the year reveals a 26% increase in bookings for 2023 compared to the previous year, indicating a return to pre-pandemic travel levels. The average lead time for bookings has also extended to 86 days, reflecting a trend towards longer-term planning. Kuoni’s focus on summer holiday bookings in July and August highlights Mallorca as the top destination, followed by Kreta and the South of Turkey. Other Mediterranean destinations like Kos, Rhodes, Cyprus, Egypt, and Ibiza also rank among the preferred choices. Hamburg and Sardinia complete the top 10 destinations. The average duration of trips to these locations ranges from seven to nine days, with longer durations for long-haul destinations. For spontaneous travelers, Kuoni’s Helvetic Tours offers affordable beach holiday options to Malta, Fuerteventura, and Cyprus, with prices below CHF 1,000 per adult. Additional upgrades to half-board or all-inclusive options are available at slightly higher costs. Read more
- FOREIGN TRAVEL PLAYS PROMINENT ROLE: German travelers have shown a continued preference for international trips, according to the Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis). In 2022, a total of 222 million trips with overnight stays were taken by German travelers, marking a 24% increase compared to 2021. However, this number was still 15% lower than the pre-pandemic year of 2019. Outbound travel saw significant growth, with 87 million trips made abroad in 2022, a 78% increase from the previous year. Domestic travel also increased by 4% to reach 135 million trips. The distribution of travel destinations between domestic and international locations returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 39% of trips made abroad. Italy and Austria were the most popular international destinations for German travelers in 2022, followed by Spain, France, and the Netherlands. Private trips experienced a 22% increase compared to 2021, while business trips saw a stronger recovery with a 39% increase. Overall, while German travelers are increasingly opting for international travel, the total number of trips in 2022 still remained lower than pre-pandemic levels. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- FRANKFURT AIRPORT BOUNCES BACK: In June 2023, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) experienced a notable recovery in passenger numbers, with 5.6 million passengers recorded, marking an 11.3% increase compared to the same month in the previous year. This marked the first time since the pandemic that FRA served over 200,000 daily passengers, surpassing this figure on three days in June. However, passenger traffic in June 2023 was still 15.6% lower than the pre-pandemic levels of June 2019. From January to June 2023, FRA handled approximately 26.9 million passengers, showing a year-on-year increase of 29.1%. Nevertheless, compared to the same period in 2019, passenger traffic at FRA remained down by 20.1%. Dr. Stefan Schulte, CEO of Fraport AG, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing recovery in passenger demand but acknowledged the challenges that accompany this development. Efforts are underway to collaborate with process partners and prepare for the upcoming summer travel season. While cargo volumes at FRA declined in June 2023 due to the overall economic slowdown, aircraft movements increased by 8.4% year-on-year. Fraport’s international airports, including Ljubljana, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Lima, Greek regional airports, and Twin Star airports in Bulgaria, also reported traffic growth during this period. Read more
- VIENNA AIRPORT REPORTS STRONG PASSENGER GROWTH IN 2023: Austrian travelers are showing a strong desire to explore as Vienna Airport experienced a significant increase in passenger numbers in the first half of 2023. With approximately 13.3 million passengers, there was a notable 44.3% growth compared to the previous year. However, these numbers still remain 9.1% below the levels seen in 2019 before the pandemic. Kosice and Malta, part of the Vienna Airport Group, have already exceeded pre-pandemic passenger levels. In Malta, passenger numbers rose by 46.4% compared to the previous year, while Kosice saw a 29.5% increase. Vienna Airport reported a rise of 45% in local passengers and a 42.7% increase in transfer passengers. June was a particularly strong month, with 2.8 million passengers served at Vienna Airport. The destinations attracting the most passengers included Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East, with significant increases in passenger numbers across these regions. Read more
- 90 PERCENT OF PASSENGERS ARE BACK: In June 2023, Zurich Airport recorded a total of 2,596,903 passengers, marking a 20% increase compared to the same period last year. In comparison to June 2019, passenger numbers reached 90% in the reporting month. The number of local passengers in June 2023 amounted to 1,820,255, while transfer passengers accounted for 30% with a total of 770,162. Flight movements also experienced growth, with a 13% increase compared to the previous year, reaching 22,617 takeoffs and landings. In terms of monthly comparison, flight movements reached 92% of the 2019 level. The average number of passengers per flight stood at 136, reflecting a 3% increase from the previous year. The seat load factor rose by 1 percentage point to 82% compared to the same month in the previous year.
- BOOKINGS HIGHER THAN BEFORE CORONA: Car rental provider Sunny Cars has observed a significant trend towards last-minute bookings during this summer season. Despite the traditional decline in booking volume at the start of the peak season before the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend continues to rise in 2023, according to Sunny Cars‘ analysis. The company experienced its strongest June yet, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, with over half of all reservations made for the same or following month of July. Only about a third of bookings were for August or September. Sunny Cars expects this trend to continue during the high-demand months of July and August. As a result of the high demand, car rental prices have also increased. While the average booking in June cost 508 euros, slightly higher than in April, the prices remain considerably lower than in 2022 when rentals were nearly 150 euros more expensive. Read more
- BALI: The tourism authority of Bali plans to introduce an environmental and cultural fee for foreign tourists starting from January 1, 2024. The funds collected will be primarily used for environmental and cultural preservation programs on the island. The fee will be collected directly at the airport or seaports, and tourists will be required to keep the receipt and a corresponding sticker until they leave Bali. The introduction of this fee aims to raise awareness and responsibility among foreign tourists to participate in the protection of Bali’s environment and culture. The measure comes in response to recent incidents of inappropriate behavior by some tourists, including posing naked at sacred sites. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bali used to welcome over 6.2 million foreign visitors annually, but the tourism industry came to a near standstill. Since the end of the pandemic, visitor numbers have started to increase significantly again.
- CHINA: The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) reported that visitor arrivals in June reached 2.75 million, with a daily average of around 92,000 visitors. In the first half of 2023, a total of 13 million arrivals were recorded. The HKTB expects a steady recovery in Hong Kong’s tourism in the second half of the year, although challenges such as air capacity and global economic factors may impact the pace of recovery. The HKTB plans to enhance promotions in various source markets, organize events like the Hong Kong Cyclothon and Wine and Dine Festival, and support international events to attract visitors and enhance their experiences in the city.
- CROATIA: The Croatian National Tourist Board has launched a new mobile app just in time for the peak vacation season. The app, called Explore Croatia, provides personalized content based on the user’s interests and current location. It offers features such as travel planning, creating and sharing digital postcards, and engaging in interactive quizzes to learn more about Croatia. Users can easily create and share travel itineraries, access information about popular destinations, discover lesser-known natural and cultural attractions, and find useful information for their stay in Croatia. The app aims to enhance the tourist experience and provide visitors with a comprehensive tool to explore and enjoy all that Croatia has to offer.
- INDIA: Record monsoon rains in northern India have caused widespread flooding, leading to the closure of schools and colleges. Himachal Pradesh state has been the hardest hit, with at least 88 deaths reported and extensive damage to infrastructure. Uttar Pradesh state has also seen fatalities and rain-related incidents, including drowning, lightning strikes, and a snake bite. Helicopters have been deployed to rescue stranded individuals, with nearly 300 people rescued in Himachal Pradesh. In New Delhi, residential areas near the Jamuna River have experienced flooding, prompting the evacuation of residents from low-lying areas. The heavy rains have resulted in road collapses, house damage, and disrupted traffic across the affected regions.
- ITALY: Hotels and guesthouses in Italy have raised their prices by an average of 33% for overnight stays compared to last year. Camping sites are around 20% more expensive, and restaurants have increased their prices by about 15%. Beachgoers are facing higher costs, with a day at the beach now costing an average family around 110 Swiss francs. Sun umbrella and lounger prices have increased by 15%. Exclusive beaches charge exorbitant amounts, such as 990 Swiss francs per day at the „Le Cinque Vele Beach Club“ in Salento. Consumer organization Codacons advises checking if sun loungers and umbrellas are included in the hotel price when booking.
- JAPAN: Booking Japan tours as shared packages is currently challenging due to a shortage of tour guides and the withdrawal of JF-Tours. Peak seasons like the cherry blossom season are particularly affected. However, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is promoting the advantages of summer travel, including beach vibes, lively festivals, and the opportunity to explore unconventional destinations like Okinawa. Visitors can also experience shrine festivals, such as the month-long celebration around Kyoto’s Yasaka Shrine.
- SOUTH AFRICA: The number of foreign tourists visiting South Africa, including from German-speaking countries, has been increasing. In the first five months of 2023, there was an 80% increase in visitors from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. South African Tourism (SAT) recorded over 860,000 overseas visitors during this period, with Europe being the most important source market region, accounting for over 545,000 travelers. This represents a 71% increase compared to the same period last year. Germany, with over 116,000 visitors, was the third-largest overseas source market. South Africa’s tourism sector is on a rapid path to recovery, although it has not yet reached pre-COVID travel numbers. The government is working on improving tourism infrastructure and intensifying safety measures to further attract vacationers.
- TURKEY: In the first two quarters of the year, the Muğla region in Turkey, including popular destinations such as Bodrum, Dalaman, Datça, and Marmaris, welcomed 1.1 million tourist arrivals. Among them were 528,000 British, 124,000 Russian, 78,000 Polish, 62,000 German, and 30,000 Dutch tourists. In June alone, over 531,000 foreign tourists visited Muğla. Despite increased travel prices, Muğla has reached pre-COVID levels of tourism. Antalya remains the main driving force of Turkish tourism, with 5.5 million foreign tourist arrivals in the first half of the year. The city with the highest tourist revenue in Turkey is Antalya, and the tourism minister hopes to reach pre-COVID arrival levels of 14 to 15 million tourists this year. German travelers, in particular, prefer Antalya over the Muğla region.
- ZANZIBAR: Effective from July 1st, Sansibar has increased the tourist tax for hotel accommodations, surprising both hoteliers and tourists. The decision, announced by the Zanzibar Revenue Authority (ZRA), aims to generate funds for infrastructure development on the island. The tax, known as the Hotel Infrastructure Tax, is collected directly from guests at all hotels on the island. The rates vary based on hotel categories, with four- and five-star hotels charging USD 5 per guest per night, two- and three-star hotels charging USD 4, and lower categories charging USD 2. Previously, the tax was a flat rate of USD 1 across all categories. Despite the sudden increase, there is understanding within the tourism industry that the funds will contribute to the island’s infrastructure development, ultimately benefiting the tourism sector.
- VIETNAM: Vietnam has quickly become a highly sought-after destination in Southeast Asia, captivating travelers with its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities. The country’s popularity is evident in its ranking as the seventh most searched travel destination globally from March to June 2023. Vietnam also saw a significant increase in international arrivals, surpassing the total number of visitors in 2022 within the first six months of 2023. The tourism industry in Vietnam is expected to continue its growth trajectory, with estimates now projecting around 10 million visitors for the year. Chinese, Indian, and Korean tourists are among the key contributors to this surge, driven by the reopening of travel markets and the expanding Indian market.
- USA: In June 2023, US-international air travel showed significant growth compared to the previous year, with passenger enplanements increasing by 19.0%. Enplanements reached 95.4% of pre-pandemic levels seen in June 2019. Non-U.S. citizen air passenger arrivals to the United States also saw a notable increase of 19.7% compared to June 2022, reaching 80.2% of the June 2019 volume. Overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 1.0 million for the twentieth consecutive month, reaching 73.2% of pre-pandemic levels in June 2019. U.S. citizen air passenger departures to foreign countries also showed growth, with a 9.5% increase compared to June 2019. Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Dominican Republic were the top destinations for air travel between the United States and other countries in June 2023.
What else is brewing?
Summer is in full swing, and Europe is feeling the heat! Italy and Greece have issued high heat warnings as temperatures soar across the continent. It’s a perfect time to indulge in some gelato and take a dip in the Mediterranean to cool off. Just remember to stay hydrated and seek shade to beat the scorching sun.
In other exciting news, a floating city is taking shape in the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives. Imagine a city built on the water, with floating houses, streets, schools, and even restaurants. This innovative project aims to address the challenges posed by rising sea levels and land scarcity. It’s like a real-life Atlantis, offering a unique and sustainable living experience. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to stunning ocean views every day?
Meanwhile, the Emirates Group is pushing the boundaries of innovation with its newly opened „Innovation Majlis“ in Dubai. This cutting-edge space brings together virtual and real-world experiences, featuring advanced technologies like robotics, holograms, and hyper-reality. It’s a playground for creative minds and a breeding ground for groundbreaking ideas that will shape the future of the aviation industry.
For all the wine enthusiasts out there, the World’s Best Vineyards awards have crowned Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Argentina, as this year’s winner. With its stunning vineyards, Mayan-inspired architecture, and multisensory masterclasses, it promises a truly unforgettable experience. Sip on a glass of Malbec, take in the breathtaking scenery, and immerse yourself in the world of wine.
Whether you’re floating in a dreamy city, exploring innovative experiences, or embarking on a gastronomic journey, there’s no shortage of excitement in the world of travel. So, grab your sunscreen, embrace the heat, and let your wanderlust guide you to new adventures.
Stay cool and keep exploring!
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