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 agencies groan under extra work due to flight chaos: Overall, almost 80 percent of the travel agency professionals surveyed diagnose a significant additional workload due to stranded customers, baggage not being transported, flight time changes and flight cancellations. Only one-fifth are currently giving the all-clear. Forty-one percent of travel agents who participated in a recent Counter-vor9 survey describe the additional workload caused by the chaos at airlines and airports as very high. Another 37 percent speak of a „rather high“ additional workload. Regionally, the extent of the problems appears to vary. From a plethora of comments from survey respondents, it appears that numerous travel agents rate the magnitude of the additional workload as great. „We are working at least 30 percent more. Picking out new flights, reassuring customers and so on. Attempts to contact the airlines or tour operators take about 40 percent longer than half a year ago,“ writes one travel agency owner. „It’s worse than 2021 in some cases,“ underlines another travel professional. Meanwhile, there are also comments that primarily blame media attention for the misery. „The actual cases are rather small. There are some, but the cases are less than ten percent of the orders. Only, all travelers ask about – there is a much higher consulting effort. And thanks to the scaremongering of the media, customers also refrain from booking,“ is the assessment of one survey participant. The editors do not know whether the summer vacations have already started in his region. Read more
- Vacation bookings for summer at top level in May: According to market research firm TDA, vacation travel bookings in May exceeded both the previous month by 13 percent and May 2019 by a remarkable 51 percent in terms of sales. The race to catch up from the winter months with weak bookings is still underway, the market researchers analyze. According to TDA, in May 2022, German citizens booked vacation trips for around 1.8 billion euros in travel agencies and on the travel portals of tour operators and online travel agencies (OTAs). Just under a third of this was accounted for by last-minute departures still in May and June, and a further 37 percent by school vacations in July and August. In terms of the 2022 summer season, with travel months from May to October, incoming bookings in May exceeded the pre-Corona month of May 2019 by a whopping 71 percent. According to market researchers, vacation travel to Turkey is in strong demand. Compared to the previous month, bookings increase by 27 percent, so they stand for 21 percent of booking sales in May 2022. Thus, Turkey shows the largest cumulative growth compared to the summer season 2019 (+22%) after the long-haul destinations Dominican Republic and Maldives and has almost caught up with Greece in total (Greece cumulative: +14%). Egypt has also already exceeded the pre-Corona level at the current booking level (+6%). Especially the Balearic Islands, but also the Canary Islands and Portugal approached the black zero. Bulgaria, Croatia and Tunisia also posted strong growth compared with the previous month, as did Thailand on long-haul routes. Read more
- Cost is more important than sustainability for business travel: The pressure on companies to become more environmentally sustainable is growing. When it comes to business travel, however, costs, security and a fast, comfortable journey still play a more important role than ecological sustainability goals for most German companies, according to a survey by payment service provider Airplus. Just under half of respondents (48%) do not expect this prioritization to change in the next two to five years, according to findings from the survey of 111 top managers in Germany, including CEOs, chief financial officers and chief sales officers. One in five (21%) do not expect a rethink even after that. Nevertheless, most companies are flexible to some extent when it comes to travel costs. Almost one in two respondents (44%) is prepared to spend ten percent more on business trips to make them more ecologically sustainable, one in five (20%) would still invest five percent more, and one in six respondents (16%) would even invest twenty percent more. Read more
- High booking volume expected for winter: The tour operator alltours expects an increase in guests of over 25% for the winter season 2022/23 compared to the pre-crisis winter 2019/20 and is therefore stocking up its winter program once again. The increased demand is apparent both in the package tours and in the individual trips with own journey. Despite the more difficult economic conditions, prices have risen only moderately so far, averaging 3%. Verhuven recommends due to the high demand to be expected early to book. „The travel desire of our customers is unbroken. After two difficult years, we feel a great pent-up demand, which will continue in the coming winter season. We expect a significant increase in bookings for all destinations, especially for long-haul travel,“ says Verhuven. Read more
Current major topics within the aviation industry in Germany and Europe
- High demand for air travel & IT solutions: The latest SITA study not only shows an increase in demand for business and leisure travel in the wake of the pandemic – passengers are also increasingly turning to mobile and touchless technologies to make their journey as convenient and seamless as possible: For example, according to the survey, passengers in Q1 2022 are increasingly using mobile devices for booking, onboard and baggage claim compared to the same period in 2020. Automated gates were also increasingly used for identity checks, boarding and border control. The results clearly reflect the accelerated digitization within the airline industry since the outbreak of the pandemic and also signal passengers‘ willingness to use these technologies. Although technologies have already been implemented, in Q1 2022, over half of passengers were still conducting their own research regarding health screening requirements and submitting associated documentation manually. SITA’s research also shows that technology is used less in the early stages of travel (check-in, bag tag, and bag drop) and that manual processing is preferred. That travelers are more likely to want to interact with staff at the beginning of their trip is likely due to uncertainty about health requirements and travel regulations. According to the survey, the more technology available to them while traveling, the more satisfied passengers are. As many as 87% of passengers rate identity verification positively, an 11% increase over 2016, and the same is true for 84% of passengers regarding baggage claim (a 9% increase). These are also the areas where technology has been best adopted, thanks to mobile devices and automated gates: around half of passengers now additionally receive real-time information on baggage collection. Passengers are also increasingly considering sustainability issues before boarding the plane. Around half of passengers would appreciate airports and airlines that use new IT solutions to promote sustainability. Almost all passengers would pay an average of 11% of their ticket price to offset the CO2 emissions of their flight. When asked if the airline industry is doing enough to become more sustainable, more than half of passengers say it either isn’t or they don’t know – a sign that there is still room for improvement in communicating sustainability initiatives and corresponding measures in the industry. Read more
- Wizz Air named „Most Sustainable Low-Cost Airline: The low-cost airline was awarded the title of „Most Sustainable Low-Cost Airline“ at the World Finance Sustainability Awards 2022. World Finance particularly praised Wizz Air for its „transformative change“ and for „the airline’s ongoing commitment to sustainability in relation to its fleet renewal program and other fuel-saving initiatives.“ The airline is proud to have the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per passenger kilometer in Europe, he said, and has made a self-commitment to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. Read more
- No flight chaos at Bern-Belp Airport: Flight chaos is not everywhere in Europe: at Bern-Belp Airport, things are running smoothly. As usual, the airport asks its travelers to be there 45 minutes before departure. Elsewhere, passengers queue up to four hours before departure to get into the air on time. Bern Airport boasts the „shortest check-in times in Switzerland. That’s gaining popularity with passengers in times of summer flight chaos. „Flights are currently extremely busy,“ says Urs Ryf, CEO of Bern Airport, in an interview with „Blick.“ In the coming weeks, even more passengers are likely to transfer to the regional airport. „We feel that we have increased bookings from Bern,“ writes Hotelplan spokeswoman Bianca Gähweiler, for example, according to „Blick.“ Bern’s airport boss Ryf does not want to compete with Zurich, and certainly does not want to criticize the sometimes chaotic conditions at other European airports. „With us, flights take place one after the other. If everyone arrived at the same time, we wouldn’t have enough staff.“ That’s exactly what the aviation industry is lacking after two tough Corona years around the world. Swissport and Co. can only dream of conditions like those at Bern-Belp. „We have recruited more than 20 employees since the beginning of the year,“ Ryf recounts. „We hardly had any trouble finding the people.“ Read more
- Lufthansa suspends sale of low-priced tickets in the short term: The sales stop at Lufthansa for the low fares applies to domestic and European routes as well as North American routes, according to a sales letter. For new bookings and voluntary rebookings for travel in the next few weeks, only booking classes J and Y as well as G and F are currently available. Lufthansa is taking the temporary measure to free up seats for rebookings resulting from previously announced flight cancellations. The airline has canceled more than 3,000 connections in July, August and September due to massive capacity problems at airports and within its own company. It now says it wants to offer all guests affected by flight cancellations an alternative travel option. To ensure this, the company has reduced availability on Lufthansa flights for new bookings in July, it said. Read more
- Venice: Now it’s fixed: Venice will introduce an entrance fee for day tourists including online registration from 2023. A first „test“ of the entrance fee is already planned in the next few weeks. An online booking system is planned for all tourists who come to the city from outside the Veneto region but do not want to spend the night there. Depending on the day on which Venice is visited, between 3 to 10 EUR are to be paid.
- Mauritius: The Republic of Mauritius is relaxing the previously applicable covid restrictions as of July 1, 2022, allowing visitors to once again enter the Indian Ocean island without testing or quarantine/isolation, regardless of their vaccination status. In addition, the mask requirement will be relaxed. However, the wearing of a mouth-nose covering in public areas such as hospitals, ports, airports and public transport will remain mandatory.
- Israel: On „the lowest route in the world,“ visitors to Israel will in future have the opportunity to explore the region around the Dead Sea more closely with the help of locals: The new tourism initiative The Lowest Route in the World, launched by three regional councils, is designed to make it easier for visitors to explore the Judean Desert around the Dead Sea.
- Croatia: After two pandemic years, the Croatian tourism industry is expecting record numbers again this year. On the first weekend in July, around 640,000 tourists spent their vacations in Croatia, which is interpreted as a good start to the high season. In July and August, it is expected that there will be more than 1 million vacationers in the Adriatic country every day. The tourism industry is also satisfied with the figures in the first half of the year: in the first six months, 5.7 million tourist arrivals and 24.7 million overnight stays were recorded. Compared to the same period last year, arrivals increased by 120% and overnight stays by 107%, it said. The figures have approached the pre-crisis year: compared to the first half of 2019, this year arrivals reached 83% of the level of that time, and overnight stays 94%. Foreign guests were responsible for the majority of overnight stays (21.4 million) in the first six months. Tourists from Germany (6.1 million) accounted for the most overnight stays, followed by guests from Austria (2.4 million), Slovenia (2.3 million) and Poland (1.3 million).
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