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
- GERMAN TRAVELERS INCREASE TRAVEL BUDGETS: The latest „Allianz Partners International Vacation Confidence Index“ shows that Germans are willing to spend more on their travels despite the high cost of living and inflation. The average household budget for travel now stands at €1,962, an increase of €282 on the previous year. In addition, a high proportion of Germans (80%) are planning a summer trip, with 44% of them wanting to travel abroad, 4% more than last year. Climate events and environmental footprint play an important role in travel planning, with 57% of respondents considering these aspects and 52% willing to change their behavior to reduce environmental impact. Geopolitical considerations are less relevant to the majority of travelers. The main purpose of travel for most Germans (59%) is relaxation and recreation. Read more
- BREXIT HITS THE EU TRAVEL INDUSTRY THIS HARD: Since Brexit, the number of British nationals working in the EU travel industry has dropped by more than two-thirds, according to a survey by trade association Abta. The cost of applying for visas and other formal applications are cited as reasons, which particularly affects young Britons who want to work as seasonal workers in the EU. The EU travel industry is feeling the Brexit keenly due to the ongoing skills shortage. Under the trade agreement, Britons can travel to the EU for 90 days in a 180-day period, but will need permits and visas for seasonal travel jobs. Industry leaders warn that reducing opportunities for young Britons to work in the EU could have long-term consequences for the industry and are calling for a policy framework that allows travel and tourism to thrive between the UK and EU. Read more
- PACKAGE HOLIDAYS HAVE BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE: An investigation by Check 24 has shown that the prices for package tours to many popular destinations have increased compared to the previous year. The daily price for Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach on the Black Sea has increased by 16.6% to 82 euros, followed by Antalya/Belek with 15.9% to 106 euros and Side/Antalya with 15.5% to 85 euros. Other popular destinations such as Majorca, Hammamet and the Dominican Republic have also seen price increases of between 9.9% and 12.4%. Only in two destinations, Sardinia and Yucatán/Cancún, have daily prices fallen. Martin Zier, managing director of package tours at Check 24, emphasizes that the average price increase does not exceed the general level of inflation and that cheap deals can still be found, especially for last-minute offers. Read more
- HOW THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MARKET IS SHRINKING: In 2021, sales by business travel providers in Germany totaled 5.2 billion euros, a 50 percent decrease compared to the record year of 2019. Despite this reduction, the business travel sector accounted for 34 percent of total travel agency sales, up from 29 percent in 2019, and experts predict that pre-Corona levels will not be reached again until 2025. The number of business travel suppliers has declined due to the pandemic and is expected to continue to decline as the industry has shown a trend toward consolidation for several years. Most notable in this trend is American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), which has increased its market share through acquisitions, including DER Business Travel and Egencia. However, the current situation has also left room for new players. ADAC, for example, has expanded its franchise network to include business travel. Despite the general downturn, some companies, such as FCM Travel and ATG, have been able to significantly increase their sales. FCM Travel, for example, reported sales of nearly 100 million euros, an increase of almost 139 percent over 2019. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- EUROWINGS: “WE ARE MUCH BETTER PREPARED”: Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings has assured that it is better prepared for summer flight traffic and that the flight chaos of 2022 will not be repeated. Michael Erfert, head of sales at Eurowings, reports that the availability of the company’s service hotline has averaged over 90 percent since last August. Despite fears of renewed flight cancellations, Erfert admits there have been schedule adjustments in recent months, but they have been limited compared to last year. He attributes the improved situation to more than 80 measures introduced last fall and a significant increase in staff. Eurowings is also planning more conservatively for this year and has slowed growth compared to last year. However, Erfert stresses that the company remains self-critical and is striving for improvements, especially in communication with customers and travel agents. Read more
- FINNAIR REBALANCES BUSINESS MODEL: The Corona pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace due to the war in Ukraine in February 2022 posed major challenges for the airline Finnair. Finnair, which previously often offered the fastest connection from Europe to Asia due to its geographical location, faced significant increases in flight times. The impact on the company was significant, especially after Finnair had just launched a 200-million-euro modernization program for long-haul jets. In 2022, Finnair suffered an operating loss of about 164 million euros on revenues of 2.3 billion euros, resulting in a net loss of 476 million euros. However, the company returned to the black in the second half of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, and plans to be profitable again overall by mid-2024. To adapt, Finnair has implemented cost-cutting strategies and focused on new, competitive routes. The company has partnered and entered into wetlease agreements with other airlines such as Eurowings Discover, British Airways and Qantas. Finnair has also expanded its range of destinations and now serves about 80 destinations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Despite the challenges, Asia remains an important market for Finnair, with several flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Delhi. Read more
- DECADE TO SEE 3.3 % YEARLY GROWTH IN AIRCRAFT FLEET: The worldwide commercial aircraft fleet is expected to grow by 3.3% annually over the next decade, from 29,000 to 42,000 aircraft, despite geopolitical and supply chain challenges affecting Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). However, the aviation recovery is uneven, with air traffic expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024, although recovery rates will vary by region. As a result, OEMs will primarily concentrate on addressing immediate supply chain issues and advancing research and development, rather than initiating major new programs. As the industry faces pressure to enhance sustainability, OEMs will continue developing technology for future aircraft programs. Yet, no new clean sheet aircraft family designs, apart from the 777X and possible A220-500 derivative, are predicted to be in service before 2030. The immediate focus for OEMs, such as Airbus and Boeing, is to improve operations to increase production rates to meet current demand. Moreover, the push for sustainability has shifted discussions toward Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which can be used in existing aircraft, as clean sheet aircraft with new technology engines can only reduce carbon emissions by 10-15%, far short of current sustainability goals. Read more
- AUSTRIAN AIRLINES AND TURKISH AIRLINES RECEIVE AWARDS: Austrian Airlines has won the Skytrax Award 2023 for „Best Airline Staff in Europe“, an important milestone after years of crisis. The award is seen as recognition for the professional service and hospitality of the staff. Austrian Airlines CEO Annette Mann called the win a strong signal for the company. The airline won a total of four awards, including „Best Catering Worldwide“ in Business and Economy Class and „Best Economy Class Seat in Europe.“ Turkish Airlines was named Best Airline in Europe for the eighth time and also received awards for its Business Class and Economy Class catering. Read more
- ASIA: In the first three months of 2023, global outbound travel has doubled compared to the same period in 2022, with global tourism reaching 80% of pre-pandemic levels. However, the Asia-Pacific region lags behind the global average at only 54%. However, the recovery is expected to accelerate after China, the largest source market for tourism in 2019, reopens for tourism. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed the Asia-Pacific region’s key role for the tourism sector, both as a major source market and as a center for tourism innovation and a location for leading companies and attractive destinations.
- GREECE: Athens has established itself as a popular destination for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE). In 2022, the Greek capital hosted 109 international conventions with 40,000 attendees and the city ranked eighth as a destination for meetings according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). MICE events in Athens generated a total of 87 million euros last year. Meeting attendees spend an average of about 2162 euros, which is four times more than an ordinary tourist. Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis attributes the success to efforts by the municipality to raise Athens‘ profile as a MICE destination.
- INDIA: The months of April, May and June are traditionally hot in India, but the current heat phase with daily temperatures of almost 45 degrees Celcius is unusual, according to meteorologists. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India are particularly affected. So far, 100 people have died as a result of the overheating. A change in the weather is currently not in sight.
- INDONESIA: Indonesia has become one of the last countries in the world to lift its Covid 19-related entry restrictions. There are no longer any proof of vaccination or testing requirements for travelers. Previously, adult foreign travelers were required to present English-language proof of two vaccinations administered at least 14 days prior to departure upon entry. Although there are no longer nationwide rules, the Indonesian government continues to recommend wearing mouth-to-nose protection indoors and on public transportation. Travelers may also be required to wear mouth-to-nose protection in certain public places and during travel.
- ITALY: Lufthansa has received approval from the Italian Court of Auditors to acquire 41% of Ita Airways, the successor to Alitalia, for 325 million euros. The agreement was signed by Lufthansa, the Italian Ministry of Finance (the previous sole owner of ITA Airways) and ITA Airways. The official announcement of the deal was made at the end of April. Next up are reviews of the deal by competition authorities in Italy and the EU Commission.
- ISRAEL: The Israeli government has established a ministerial committee to reduce the cost of living, on which the Ministry of Tourism is also represented. As part of this, Minister Haim Katz aims to make vacations in Israel more affordable by increasing competitiveness and reducing bureaucracy in hotel construction. The goal is to improve value for money for vacationers and break the 2019 visitor record. By May 2023, Israel already reached 90% of 2019 visitor numbers from Germany. The recovery in tourism was already evident in the 2022 statistics, and Katz expressed confidence in early 2023 that the record would soon be broken.
- MEXICO: Mexico is groaning under a heat wave like it hasn’t in decades. Last week, temperatures of over 40 degrees were measured in nine states. In Mexico City, 35 degrees were measured. It is already the third heat wave this year.
- TURKEY: Nearly 300,000 cruise tourists visited Turkey from January to May, an increase of 114 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Turkish Transport Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu. Most tourists arrived at the ports of Kuşadası, Galataport and Antalya. Uraloğlu stressed that the government wants to continue promoting cruise tourism and that investments in this sector are paying off. According to the Turkish Travel Agents Association Türsab, about three million cruise tourists are expected in 2023. Despite the current boom in cruise tourism, Turkey has only a small share of the overall market, with Spain, Italy and France leading the way.
- USA: Timo Kohlenberg, managing director of the North America travel specialist America Unlimited, expects that the recently increased prices for vacations in the USA will fall by up to 15% by the end of the year. In particular rental car and RV prices, which have more than doubled recently, are already declining, he said. Overall, the cost of vacationing in the U.S. has risen by about a third since the borders reopened, driven mainly by high recreational values such as national parks and coastal areas. Despite high prices and a strong dollar exchange rate, the business of travel to North America is booming. However, falling prices could make these trips more affordable again for the broad middle class and further increase demand. America Unlimited has already seen a 30% increase in sales in 2022 compared to 2019 and currently sees a further increase of around 40%.
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING?
Your Monthly Dose of Fun in the Travel Industry!
Welcome to another edition of Travel Tales and Curiosities, your go-to newsletter for exciting updates and quirky stories from the world of travel. Sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on a journey of laughter and amazement. Let’s dive right into it!
Imagine soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach in Destin, Florida, when suddenly, you hear the unexpected words: „It’s a bear!“ Yes, you read that right! Last Sunday, beachgoers were startled by a bear splashing around in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you believe it? „We had been watching for several minutes as it came from pretty far away,“ said one eyewitness. „Most people didn’t know it was a bear.“ Talk about an unforgettable beach encounter! The bear’s origin and current whereabouts remain a mystery, adding an air of adventure to this incredible story.
Now, this is one luggage inspection that won’t be forgotten anytime soon! Customs officers at Vienna Airport recently discovered something slithery and scaly hidden away in a passenger’s bags. Can you guess what they found? A whopping 85 geckos, two snakes, and two scorpions! With a total retail value of 47,000 euros, these reptiles were quite the surprise for everyone involved. The passenger had flown from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was in for a reptilian shock when he tried to use the exit for travelers without declared goods. Let’s hope these little adventurers find a suitable home away from the airport soon!
Attention all globetrotters and map enthusiasts! Google Maps has some fantastic updates in store for us. The Immersive View feature now includes four additional cities: Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, and Venice. And that’s not all! Soon, over 500 landmarks worldwide will be added to the immersive experience. You can virtually explore these stunning locations, check weather conditions, and even see how crowded they are—everything at your fingertips! Another handy addition is the quick info on routes, which displays updated arrival times and next turns on your lock screen or route overview. And for those who love planning their trips on the desktop version, „Last“ is here to help! It automatically lists your researched places, ensuring you never lose track of your travel ideas. These updates are coming your way on Android and iOS devices worldwide this July. Get ready to explore like never before!
It’s time to celebrate countries that prioritize sustainability in tourism! The Meaningful Tourism Center in Hamburg has released its annual index, evaluating the sustainability efforts of 88 countries—accounting for a whopping 90% of global tourism sales. Topping the list is Aruba, followed closely by Iceland and Switzerland. These three nations have achieved over 50% of the possible points, showcasing their commitment to sustainable travel. The top ten also includes Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, and Singapore. On the flip side, countries like Iraq, Nigeria, Lebanon, and others have some work to do to improve their sustainability practices. Let’s keep encouraging responsible and eco-friendly tourism across the globe!
Calling all fans of unique accommodation experiences! Lucerne, Switzerland, is about to add another gem to its collection—a brand-new Capsule Hotel in the heart of the old town! Opening its doors in spring 2024, „Chapter Lucerne“ will feature around 80 sleeping spaces and an „Artistic Library“ design. Perfect for those seeking a balance between privacy and social interaction, this concept has been gaining popularity since the first Capsule Hotel opened in Lucerne in 2018. In fact, Europe’s largest Capsule Hotel opened at Zurich Airport in 2022, welcoming thousands of guests and boasting an impressive 75% occupancy rate in its first year. The new hotel’s location near the iconic Lion Monument promises a memorable stay filled with Swiss charm and communal vibes. Are you ready to experience the wonders of a Capsule Hotel?
Ah, the era of smartphones and their influence on our travels! According to a recent survey by Holidaycheck, it seems that around 30% of respondents spend less than one hour a day on their phones while on vacation. Impressive, isn’t it? Another 25% use their devices for one to two hours, and the numbers gradually increase from there. While most travelers use smartphones for capturing memories, staying connected with loved ones, and researching attractions, there’s a small percentage (7%) who find themselves working even during their time off. However, it’s worth noting that excessive phone usage can sometimes lead to tension among travel companions. Let’s strive for a healthy balance, ensuring we actively participate in our vacations and fully immerse ourselves in the wonders of the world around us!
That’s all for this edition of Travel Tales and Curiosities! We hope these stories brought a smile to your face and sparked your sense of wanderlust. Stay tuned for more exciting updates, amusing anecdotes, and travel inspirations in our next newsletter.
Happy travels and adventure awaits!
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