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
- GERMANS SET THE PACE IN MANY LONG DISTANCE DESTINATIONS: German tourists are playing a major role in the recovery of global tourism, especially in Asia. According to the UNWTO, the backlog of tourism to pre-crisis levels fell to just 20% in the first quarter of 2023, compared with 34.3% at the end of 2022, mainly due to the dismantling of corona restrictions and the resulting increase in bookings. The Asia/Pacific region in particular experienced a rapid recovery following the opening of key destinations in the second half of 2022. Booking backlogs there reduced from 73% (end of 2022) to 46% (end of March 2023). Destinations that opened to visitors earlier recovered more quickly, with Europe, Africa and the Americas almost back to normal levels. Five top trends in long-haul tourism were identified:
- The pace of recovery is picking up: all long-haul destinations saw significant growth in the first quarter of 2023.
- Germany leading the way: German visitor numbers approached „normal levels“ more closely than total country arrivals.
- Latecomer Asia: Countries in the Asia/Pacific region that opened their borders late in 2022 are now seeing a jump in demand.
- Westbound: North America and the Caribbean, already well traveled last year, continue to recover in the first quarter.
- Special case Cuba: Due to the U.S. embargo and supply bottlenecks, Cuba is significantly behind pre-crisis levels, especially in terms of German visitor numbers.
- TRAVEL AGENCIES ON THE WAVE OF SUCCESS: The travel industry is currently experiencing a pleasing development, both in stationary travel sales and in the mobile sector. Sales are rising again and the personal travel advice and extensive expertise of travel experts are highly valued by customers everywhere. Even large hotel chains such as Accor praise the advantages of the classic travel agency in a study for the European market. In addition, the results of the annual service ranking of the leading travel agency chains were recently published by Handelsblatt and all scored high marks from customers. However, there are currently challenges in air travel that are dampening the mood at the counter. Delays, flight cancellations and other annoyances are the order of the day. One particularly controversial player is the new vacation carrier Marabu, which has been causing unrest for weeks. But now sister airline Condor has announced measures to improve operations. Recently, climate activists made headlines with an action in Rostock-Warnemünde, where they blocked the Aida Diva with inflatable boats to draw attention to the cruise industry’s pollution. In a recent survey, travel agency sales professionals comment on whether the climate activists‘ protest also has an influence on their customers and their booking behavior. Read more
- ECO-CONSCIOUS MILLENNIALS & GEN-Z FUEL GLAMPING MARKET GROWTH: Glamping market driven by experiential preferences and eco-friendly tourism, particularly popular among Millennials and Gen Z. The market is witnessing significant growth due to the demand for unique outdoor experiences with luxurious amenities and minimal environmental impact. The rise of social media and the desire for Instagram-worthy travel experiences are also contributing to its popularity. Glamping market is expected to expand further, with increasing investments, technological integration, and niche offerings catering to specific traveler preferences. North America dominates the market, followed by Europe, with Germany and India emerging as key players in their respective regions. Eco-pods, offering sustainability and customization, are a dominant segment in the market. Younger generations, aged 18 to 35, are driving the glamping trend with their preference for adventure, experiential travel, and social media sharing. Read more
- WTTC G20 DIALOGUE SPOTLIGHTS TRAVEL & TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) held a Public-Private Dialogue in Goa, India, to address the potential and challenges in the sector. The dialogue included discussions on the sector’s contribution to the global economy and employment, the importance of collaboration between governments and the private sector, and the need for streamlined visa processes, sustainability, and digital borders. India’s expansion in Travel & Tourism was praised, and three key challenges were highlighted: visa backlogs, sustainable aviation fuel, and staff shortages. The dialogue also emphasized the importance of youth employment and the sector’s impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- RENTAL CAR FOR SUMMER VACATION CHEAPER AGAIN: Prices for rental cars have fallen by an average of 18 percent year-on-year across the 20 most popular destinations, according to data from Check 24 and Billiger-mietwagen.de. Despite this decline, prices are still above pre-Corona pandemic levels. Considerable price decreases were recorded in Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, France and the UK, among others. However, the sharpest price reduction was recorded in Croatia, with a drop of 47 percent according to Check 24 and 22 percent according to Billiger-mietwagen.de. For the USA, the portals provide contradictory data. Rental car prices in Germany fell by 11 to 10 percent. The differences between the portals can be attributed to the bookings of the respective visitors and the mismatched booking and evaluation periods. In the last two years, rental cars were more expensive than before Corona due to fleet reductions at the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent supply problems of car manufacturers. Read more
- WIZZ AIR SETS GLOBAL STANDARDS: The airline Wizz Air has been named the world’s most sustainable low-cost airline by the business magazine „World Finance“ for the third time in a row. The jury recognized Wizz Air’s investments in fleet modernization and initiatives to increase fuel efficiency. Partnerships with manufacturers of sustainable aviation fuel were also rated particularly positively. In the past fiscal year, Wizz Air reduced its carbon intensity by another six percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. This resulted mainly from the rejuvenation of the fleet, with over half of the Airbus jets in service being of the efficient Neo generation. These aircraft can run on up to 50 percent sustainable aviation fuel. To obtain greater quantities of sustainable aviation fuel in the future, Wizz Air has partnered with several manufacturers, including Mabanaft, Neste, OMV and Cepsa. The company has also invested in biofuel companies and is cooperating with other airlines and SAF start-up Clean Joule to advance the development of sustainable aviation fuel. Read more
- SLOWLY, BUT SURELY BACK TO OLD STRENGTH: Air traffic outside Germany has already recovered almost completely from the Corona pandemic, handling more than 90 percent of the previous traffic volume. In Germany, however, the recovery rate in May 2023 was only 79.9 percent. This is partly because domestic air traffic in this country is dominated by the Lufthansa Group, resulting in less competition and potentially higher prices. Nevertheless, the figures in Germany are cause for celebration, as air traffic demand has been rising steadily since the start of the current summer flight schedule in March. From January to May 2023, a total of nearly 68.9 million passengers were handled at German airports, an increase of 33.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Smaller regional airports often record stronger growth than large international airports. Overall, however, Germany is still at the bottom end of the air traffic markets in a European comparison.The top three airports for the five-month period from January to May 2023 were Frankfurt with 21.3 million passengers (up 34.8 percent), followed by Munich with 13.2 million passengers (up 36.7 percent) and Berlin with 8.4 million passengers (up 24.7 percent). Read more
- GREEN METHANOL IS CLIMATE-FRIENDLY FUEL FOR NABU: The nature conservation organization Nabu has published its new cruise ranking, which rates the most environmentally friendly shipping companies. Nabu praises some companies for their measures, but criticizes the ecological differences in the fleet and the use of LNG ships due to their methane emissions. The cruise association Clia responds by emphasizing the industry’s commitment to zero-carbon cruises by 2050, and positively evaluates the development of shore power technology, but stresses that further efforts are needed. Read more
- AUSTRIA: The Austrian Hoteliers Association, together with the mindtake opinion research institute, conducted a survey of 1,000 Austrian participants on their summer vacation plans. This showed that vacationing in one’s own country continues to be very popular. Around 73% of respondents said they would use the summer months for a vacation, with half of them spending their vacations in Austria. Domestic lakes are particularly popular, with Carinthia named as the top region by 28.6%, followed by Styria with 22.8% and Salzburg with 21.7%. About 12% of respondents were still undecided. The president of the Austrian Hoteliers Association, Walter Veit, emphasizes the advantages of a domestic vacation, such as the good price-performance ratio and the outstanding quality.
- CROATIA: The mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, has banned wheeled suitcases in the old town because they cause noise. Violators face a fine of 265 euros. Mandatory lockers will be introduced from November 2023. Croatia can impose fines for inappropriate behavior, such as walking without a shirt or in swimwear, sleeping in public areas, climbing monuments, urinating in public spaces, drinking alcohol near protected public spaces, and vomiting in public areas. The government expects a tourism boom from joining the Schengen zone. The tourism industry contributes 20 percent of Croatia’s economic output. So far, nearly five million arrivals and over 17.5 million overnight stays have been recorded, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2019.
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: The Dominican Republic has seen the fastest international recovery in the first quarter of 2023, with an increase of 111 percent compared to 2019. However, inbound travel from Germany has lagged behind 2019 levels by a quarter. This could be due to the travel options Germans already used last year and limited flight capacity. According to forecasts by the German Air Transport Association (BDL), only 71 percent of 2019 long-haul capacity will resume between June and November. By contrast, the global average is 89 percent.
- ITALY: Tourism in Italy is set to experience a significant recovery, with data from ENIT and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasting nearly 1.8 million international visitors this year. This includes an expected 944,000 arrivals in June alone, an 8.6% increase compared to 2022. Tourist flows to Italy saw a substantial increase of 86% between January and March 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. International arrivals in the first quarter of 2023 reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Italy is primarily chosen as a holiday destination and for work, but also to visit family and friends, or for shopping. The majority of tourists come from the European Union, particularly France and Germany, with 18.3% coming from non-European countries, especially the UK. In terms of accommodation, over 40% of online bookings are already filled for June, with most bookings being for pairs or small groups of 3-5 people. Rome and Milan are expected to host 80% of international airport arrivals.
- KENYA: Kenya is planning to hold its first international Masai Festival in August 2023, coinciding with the Great Migration of wildlife in the Masai Mara. The week-long event will offer a platform for tourism partners to showcase their services and products, while also allowing a space for cultural activities and conservation discussions. The Masai culture is renowned globally and is a significant part of Kenya’s ethnic tourism. In other parts of Africa, local ethnic groups are also increasingly using tourism as a means of sharing and preserving their cultural traditions. One example is the non-profit Kara-Tunga Foundation in Karamoja, Uganda, which uses ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development, supporting cultural heritage preservation, biodiversity protection, and socio-economic opportunities.
- LATVIA: Latvia has decided to completely suspend the issuance of visas for Russian citizens for an indefinite period of time. This measure is taken due to the „unpredictable development of domestic political events in Russia“. The Latvian Foreign Ministry in Riga has announced that no more visa applications from Russian citizens will be accepted, and that applications already submitted are still under consideration. Latvia had previously restricted the issuance of visas to citizens of the neighboring country due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, issuing them only in humanitarian cases.
- PERU: Peruvian Culture Minister Leslie Urteaga has announced that the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu will soon have an accessible area for people with disabilities. For now, daily visitor capacity will not be increased. However, the ministry is working to bring back tourists from both inside and outside the country. The minister stressed that during the pandemic period, good care was taken to preserve the country’s most important archaeological monument. She appealed to guides and visitors to abide by internal rules, regulations and the code of ethics. Earlier, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Juan Carlos Mathews, said that the daily capacity for Machu Picchu could be gradually increased by almost 70%. However, the Ministry of Culture is opposed to any increase in order to protect cultural heritage. Access is currently limited to 4,044 visitors per day, but can be gradually increased and expanded with new additions.
- SAUDI-ARABIA: Saudi Arabia is striving to diversify its domestic economy and become less dependent on oil. To this end, investments are being made in the expansion of the tourism infrastructure. German tour operators welcome this development. The kingdom has signed deals with hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Accor, and recently signed a contract worth 365 million euros with U.S. hotel brand Habitas. Efforts also include building hotels, launching a new airline called Riyadh Air and preparing UNESCO World Heritage sites for visitors. Other projects such as the Mukaab, a large entertainment and shopping center on the outskirts of Riyadh, and resorts along the Red Sea coast are planned. However, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be successful.
- SPAIN: After more than three years, Spain is abolishing the last Corona mask requirement in public spaces. The Ministry of Health has announced that the requirement will be lifted in pharmacies, health care facilities and retirement homes. The decision only requires a formal decision by the Cabinet in Madrid, which is expected to take place on Tuesday. Once the decision is published in the Official Gazette, the mandatory use of masks in public places, introduced on May 20, 2020, will end.
- TUNISIA: Tunisia’s 2023 summer season is showing encouraging inbound statistics. Through June 20, the country saw a 3.3% increase in arrivals from Europe and a 17.6% increase from Switzerland compared to a record 2019, according to the Tunisian Tourist Board in Vienna. Swiss guests in particular are showing increased interest in Tunisia, with 55.7% more tourists than last year visiting the Gulf of Hammamet or the island of Djerba. New flight connections and additional capacities of Tunisia tour operators have helped to bring the popular bathing destination on the Mediterranean closer to travelers.
- TURKEY: After careful restoration work, Leander Tower, also known as „Kız Kulesi“ or Maiden’s Tower, has been reopened in Istanbul as a monument and museum. The iconic structure on the coast of the Asian side of Istanbul has been restored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and is now opening its doors. The tower, located in the middle of the sea on the Bosphorus, is one of the landmarks of the Istanbul skyline and requires regular maintenance due to its location and weather conditions. For this reason, the restoration project was initiated by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2021. The Leander Tower will now serve as a monument museum.
- USA: U.S. Border Patrol has launched a mobile app for applying for Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Esta). This app, available in 40 countries and 24 languages, allows travelers to submit Esta applications via mobile devices, replacing the previous application through the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. The new app allows users to launch applications, scan and confirm passport information, upload a selfie video to confirm identity, add personal and travel information, review and submit applications, and track application status. Esta allows citizens from 40 participating countries in the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the U.S. visa-free for up to 90 days. Following the lifting of COVID-19-related entry restrictions, demand for travel to the U.S. has increased, with CBP now receiving approximately one million Esta applications per month.
What else is brewing?
Tired of the towel wars at the pool? Some hotels are cracking down on sun lounger reservations. Legally, you can remove unused towels, but let’s be considerate! Check if the lounger is truly abandoned before claiming it. Neatly put the towel aside to show courtesy. Let’s keep the poolside vibes friendly and relaxed!
Dreaming of a cosmic adventure? Space tourism offers an out-of-this-world experience. But it comes with a price tag for the elite! From a quarter to half a million dollars per person, only the wealthiest can afford it. Prepare for lift-off with orientation sessions and suiting up, which might exceed actual flight time. Space tourism is the ultimate thrill for the chosen few!
What makes a city great to live in? The Economist ranks major cities based on stability, healthcare, education, and more. Zurich and Geneva shine, but European cities face fierce competition from Asia and the Middle East. Strikes and protests affected rankings too. Vienna takes the crown again, offering safety, public facilities, and culture. Let’s find our ideal urban haven!
Yearning for an escape from screens? Discover the island of Ulko-Tammio, where cell phones are off-limits! Embrace the bliss of nature in Finland’s national parks. Enjoy lush landscapes and rugged cliffs, free from constant pings and notifications. Step into a world without distractions—your digital detox awaits!
Embrace the wonders of the world, from poolside tranquility to the vastness of outer space. Remember, whether you’re lounging by the pool, reaching for the stars, or seeking digital detox, the journey is as exciting as the destination. So, let’s make every adventure a memorable one! Safe travels and unforgettable experiences await!
Discover and enjoy our engaging newsletter! Don’t forget to share it with your colleagues to receive our weekly market update together.
If you have any questions or need guidance on market strategies, we’re here to help. Connect with us and let’s excel in the dynamic world of travel. Stay informed, stay connected.
Let’s make waves!