Please note: The following information has been compiled from the most important German speaking Trade Media.
Short Overview Situation in Germany
- As in most parts of the world, the number of new infections is going down. The occupancy situation in hospitals is relaxed. About 75,5 % of the German population are now fully vaccinated.
- During a conference on Feb 16 an opening plan in 3 steps has been released. By March 20, most restrictions will be waived. Only basic measures such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing etc. will remain in place
- As of March 3, 2022, the RKI announced that all states and regions are no longer high-risk areas. This brings relief especially to the unvaccinated and families with unvaccinated children when returning to Germany. The classification as a high-risk area is now only for those areas where there is a high incidence in terms of the spread of variants with higher virulence, i.e., disease-causing properties, compared to the omicron variant.
Current developments & influences of the Ukraine war on the industry
Today it is two weeks since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and it becomes more and more clear: a quick end of the invasion is unlikely, and the developments are not foreseeable. With this comes the impact that is hitting the beleaguered travel industry – diverted air traffic, rising fuel prices, supply shortages, not to mention the millions of Ukrainians fleeing their homes. The industry is facing major challenges.
Looking at global travel volume to and from Russia and Ukraine alone, inbound for both countries account for about 2.6 percent of the global number of arrivals. Together with the respective neighboring countries, the figure is 5.3 percent. The outgoing figure for Russia and Ukraine is 3.2 percent. However, the global figures conceal the fact that countries such as Turkey and Egypt are highly dependent on the source markets of Russia and Ukraine. What about the long-term consequences? External shocks, such as those caused by the current war, are only reflected in international passenger volumes for a limited period of time, and then only to the tune of up to five percent at most.
As the German travel figures of the past decades have shown, wars and catastrophes, if they do not affect travelers fundamentally, have at best a short-term impact on travel volume. Individual destinations were avoided, and others chosen instead, without any significant impact on volume.
Above all, a very high willingness to donate can be observed. After Chamäleon, Schauinsland-Reisen is now also supporting the Ukrainian population with donations of 25,000 Euro each to the children’s relief organization UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Booking.com announced that it had donated one million US dollars to the International Committee of the Red Cross. To the Polish Red Cross, Sabre has donated one million dollars.
But the industry is also actively involved regarding to the refugee accommodation. The project developer B&L Group, in cooperation with the state capital Dresden, is offering guest rooms in the Elbflorenz Hotel as an immediate measure to accommodate people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Currently, a contingent of 93 places is provided, in the following days it will be increased up to 210 places. The seven hotels of Arcona Hotels & Resorts are helping in different ways. Numerous hotels have already provided rooms for refugees, others are currently preparing this. Airbnb had already announced an action plan immediately after the outbreak of the war. The company wants to provide free temporary accommodation for up to 100,000 Ukrainians.
The Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) also takes a clear stance on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army on the orders of President Putin and calls for the termination of Russian membership in the World Tourism Organization UNWTO.
Current major topics within the tourism industry in Germany
- DRV published the next edition of their „Facts and Figures on the German Travel Market 2021“: It provides an overview of the German travel industry in 2021. The contribution of German tourists to economic development in developing and emerging countries amounts to around 19 billion euros. Corona also continues to have a firm grip on the industry: In the Corona year 2020, travel spending fell by 54 percent to 31.9 billion euros. In 2021, they fell further to 28.8 billion euros. Tour operator and travel agency sales also tend to develop rather difficultly in pandemic times. Compared with 2020, sales fell from 22.7 billion euros to 18.5 billion euros. At least there was a slight increase of 4 percent in international tourist arrivals to 415 million – but even this figure is still a long way from the 1.5 billion tourist arrivals in 2019. Read full report
- TUI forecasts continued strong summer business: Tour operator TUI Deutschland foresees a positive development for summer 2022 despite the crisis-ridden times. For its part, the tour operator deeply condemns the attacks by the Russians and supports Ukraine with monetary donations as well as free flights. Whether the war will have consequences on the booking mood of the customers, is not yet foreseeable at the moment, according to the chairman of the TUI Deutschland management, Stefan Baumert. Baumert is very satisfied with the Easter business. Demand was so high that even 120 additional flights to Greece alone were added to cover it. Good for TUI: The summer business is also going well – and Germany’s largest tour operator, like many of its competitors, still expects to be able to match the level of 2019. Read the Article
- Global tourism must become more crisis-proof: The Corona pandemic has shaken the global tourism industry to its core.The tourism industry has not yet recovered from the Corona pandemic, but the next crisis is already causing uncertainty – because the Russian attack on Ukraine is also affecting the travel sector. Perhaps not as devastating internationally as the pandemic, but the rising fuel prices alone as a result of the conflict are likely to have a negative impact. To be even better prepared for future crises, Maria-Anthonette Velasco-Allones, Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Tourism Office in the Ministerial Roundtable, emphasized above all close cooperation and collaboration between all political levels together with the private sector. If the two sectors operated separately, this would be counterproductive, she said. In addition, comprehensive and accurate market data is crucial for effective measures. Only on this basis is it possible to provide efficient assistance. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, added that economic support was also crucial for a rapid recovery of the tourism sector from the crisis. Here, the industrialized countries have an advantage. Bartlett therefore brought up the idea of an international aid fund for global tourism. According to his idea, this fund should be filled by countries – especially the richer economies – but also by the tourism industry itself, in order to be able to distribute financial aid in an emergency. This pot of money should be located at the United Nations, he suggested. Read the Article
Current major topics within the aviation industry in Germany
- Austrian Airlines: Booking trend continues: The Austrian Airlines summer flight schedule 2022 comes into effect on March 27 and, according to AUA, the positive booking trend of recent weeks continues. More than 600,000 new bookings were received within the last fourteen days. „With 110 destinations and 1,300 weekly frequencies, Austrian is and remains the clear number 1 in Vienna. The booking figures prove that our offer is right,“ says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl with conviction. The summer of last year and the winter season 2021/22 have already shown that the desire to travel remains high. The Austrian team therefore reacted to this at an early stage and put together a comprehensive summer flight schedule, which offers around 20% more flights to European vacation destinations in the summer than before the Corona pandemic. Read the Article
- Eurowings posts strong revenue growth: Eurowings recorded a good 7.7 million passengers last year – 8 percent more than in the first Corona year. The Lufthansa subsidiary’s revenue, on the other hand, rose by a strong 37 percent in 2021 compared to 2020 – from 598 million euros to 822 million euros. This is a clear sign that the airline has been able to push through rising ticket prices on the market. Nevertheless, Eurowings, like its parent company, continued to be in the red in 2021: The operating result was minus 227 million euros. This is still an improvement of 72 percent compared to 2020, when a loss of more than 800 million euros was recorded. The aim is to return to profitability in 2022. The signs are good, despite the Ukraine crisis. Although Eurowings also serves destinations such as Krasnodar and Yekaterinburg, it otherwise mainly flies to sunny destinations around the Mediterranean. Read the Article
- Fuel prices go through the roof – what that means for the 2022 vacations: There is still little to be heard from the airlines regarding fuel surcharges. Air Asia was one of the first airlines to introduce a surcharge of $13 for flights over four hours. In the coming days, many airlines will probably follow this example, but the amount of the surcharge cannot yet be estimated. United Airlines said yesterday that in normal years, 60 percent of higher fuel surcharges would be passed on, but in view of the many current crises, this is not yet foreseeable. In any case, the question marks are piling up at the airlines these days as to how pricing is to continue. If the more expensive fuel is not explicitly shown and charged as a surcharge, it can be assumed that significantly fewer seats will be available, at least in the lower booking classes, or that they will be closed altogether. It cannot be assumed that the airlines have hedged large quantities of fuel at lower prices – except for Ryanair, whose CEO claims to have hedged 80 percent. In fact, at the beginning of the Corona crisis, many airlines ran into the hammer and got their fingers burned because fuel prices plummeted by almost 70 percent at the time (from April 2019 to 2020). Now, within a year, the barrel of oil has risen 82 percent from $68 to $124 today. For air travelers, booking is now likely to become significantly more expensive in the coming weeks. Despite expanded flight offerings, airlines can hardly put together special offers at current fuel prices. Read the Article
- Visit USA invites to virtual roadshow: A daily USA webinar with three to four partners each: The Visit USA Committee Germany is continuing its information offensive for travel professionals in the second week of March. In addition to service and transport providers, two destinations – New York State and Florida – dominate the tableau of participating partners. In addition to US destinations, Cunard Line, Eurowings Discover, Expedia TAAP and camper rental company Travellers Autobarn are also on board. Read the Article
- Turkey increasingly focuses on sustainable projects: The Turkish government is the first in the world to establish a national program for sustainable tourism together with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The first phase of this program is to be completed by 2023, and the second phase by 2025. Among other things, the Safe Tourism Certificate, which the destination had developed on the occasion of the measures against the Corona virus, will be expanded into a Safe and Green Tourism Certificate. The destination is currently paying great attention to the promotion of cycling tours. About a year ago, the „Bike Friendly“ seal was introduced for hotels and resorts. Read the Article
- Finland invites to the „Webi-Workshop”: In the virtual event themed „The Great Outdoors,“ expeditors and tour operators will learn about the vacation opportunities offered by Finnish nature. According to Visit Finland, interest in nature destinations and outdoor activities has increased significantly in recent years. For this reason, the digital event „The Great Outdoors – WebiWorkshop“ now provides global information for the first time about offers such as cycling in Europe’s largest lake area, kayaking in the Finnish archipelago or hiking in the midst of one of the last wildernesses in Europe. More than 40 Finnish partners from the travel industry would be present at the subsequent workshop. Beforehand, experts such as the Northern Lights photographer Jari Romppainen, representatives of the national parks, cycling specialists, luxury providers as well as kayak professionals will speak. Read the Article
- Bali: On the Indonesian island of Bali, travelers who have been vaccinated twice can once again take a quarantine-free vacation. The relaxations actually announced for March 14 thus come into force a week earlier than planned.
- Curaçao: As of March 10, the requirement to present a negative coronatest for entry will be eliminated – regardless of vaccination status. Thus, tourists only need to fill out the digital entry card and the passenger locator card for entry.
- Malaysia: On April 1, Malaysia opens its borders after two years. Under the new rules, entrants do not have to be quarantined if they have been vaccinated twice and can provide a negative PCR test.
- India: After around two years, India is lifting its Corona restrictions on air traffic. Regular international air traffic is scheduled to resume from March 27. Currently, the 3G rule applies to entry into India, so all travelers must present proof of full vaccination against Covid-19, recovery from the disease, or a negative test.
- Hungary: Since March 7, 2022, travel to Hungary has again been possible without restrictions: the same entry rules apply as before the pandemic.
- Romania: Romania is lifting all Corona measures, including the digital passport for access to facilities and the mask requirement in indoor and outdoor areas, starting March 9, 2022.
Just read on and enjoy! And if you have any doubt, or would like to talk to us about how to approach these markets better, just get in touch with us. We’ll be delighted to help you.