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
- ITB Berlin takes successful stock: Despite the economically challenging market environment, the international travel industry is pleased to report enormous demand and travel enthusiasm at ITB Berlin. After the corona-induced break, the world’s leading tourism trade show returned for the first time as a pure trade show under the motto „Open for Change“ and asserted its position as the leading platform for the global travel industry. A total of 90,127 participants from over 180 countries of origin came to Berlin on the three trade visitor days. ITB Berlin also draws an impressive balance for the ITB Buyers‘ Circle, which has around 1,300 members. This exclusive circle consists exclusively of top buyers from the travel industry. Their purchasing volume increased noticeably and the international share rose from 50 percent in 2019 to a total of 70 percent. The spectrum of around 5,500 exhibitors* from 161 countries was just as diverse as it was international. ITB Berlin also attracted considerable media interest, with around 3,000 media representatives and more than 330 travel bloggers from Germany and abroad, as well as high-profile celebrities from international politics. Read more
- Strong long-haul travel trend at the start of the year: After a still restrained start in November and December 2022, demand at the FTI Group had risen markedly at the start of 2023. „With its very good booking figures, January was an optimal start for us,“ Doris Oberkanins, CMO FTI Touristik, noted. „What is remarkable here is that the long-haul route is picking up speed again. Compared to the previous year, long-haul is recording high double-digit percentage growth for us.“ For this reason, FTI is already making a large number of long-haul destinations from the 2023/24 winter program bookable. For example, the complete FTI portfolio for the Maldives, Mauritius as well as the Seychelles is available immediately. „Early activation, large selection as well as outstanding early booking discounts – with it we give the travel agencies weighty arguments to the hand, in order to be able to generate already now first conversion for the winter season 2023/24 , supplement the FTI boss. In terms of the travel period, demand is spreading more evenly overall than before. The proportion of bookings made in the short term remains high. But also in the medium and long term, more customers are again committing themselves. „Since January, demand has extended to the entire 2023 summer season, and for the first time since the pandemic, we have had more guests in the medium- and long-term segment than in the last-minute segment, especially for package tours,“ explains the CMO. While the tour operator is currently still able to provide sufficient hotel capacity, in 2023 it is more likely to be the flight connections where there could be bottlenecks for sought-after dates. The FTI Group is therefore acting with foresight and has already stocked up contingents – for example, for vacations in Egypt. Read more
- Overseas visitors are still missing from Europe: according to the latest findings from the European Travel Commission (ETC) and Tourism Economics, the recovery of European travel began in earnest in 2022. The full recovery of tourism will require the return of long-haul arrivals, they said at a joint press conference with the European Tourism Association (ETOA) at ITB. International arrivals rose to nearly 80% of 2019 levels on average for the year, and international travel to Europe is forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2025. However, long-haul travel has been one of the main weaknesses in the post-pandemic recovery to date and continues to lag behind short- and medium-haul arrivals. Prior to Covid-19, long-haul travelers accounted for 25% of international overnight stays in Europe. They tend to stay longer and travel to multiple destinations, resulting in higher economic benefits. It is noteworthy that the share of overnight stays and spending from overseas markets in Europe exceeds the share of arrivals, which is due to longer trips and associated higher budgets. Read more
- Sustainability on vacation still not a big issue: With regard to ecological sustainability, the assessment of German citizens has not changed compared to 2019, according to the travel analysis. In contrast, the importance of social compatibility has risen over the same period. In 2019, 51 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that their vacation should be as socially responsible as possible; in the most recent survey, the figure was just under two-thirds. It is interesting to note the market researchers‘ finding that older travelers place a higher priority on the environmental sustainability of their vacation than younger travelers. For example, 51 percent of travelers aged 70 and over, but only 37 percent of respondents aged between 14 and 29, said the issue was important to them on vacation. The willingness to pay a moderate surcharge for sustainable additional services is even worse. At a conservative estimate, only five to ten percent of those surveyed would do so, according to ADAC. Sustainability is desired and appreciated by travelers, but is not a driver in booking behavior, according to the automobile association. The sustainable development of supply will therefore not be driven by broad demand in the foreseeable future. Read more
- Sales revenues continue to recover: Invoiced revenues of the agencies participating in the Tats-Reisebüro-Spiegel increased by 86.2 percent in February compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. In tourism, February showed a 73.4 percent increase over 2022. Cruises were a particularly big driver, up 179.2 percent year-over-year. Air travel was up 92.8 percent. Exceptionally strong revenue growth was also registered in the number of tickets (up 61.2 percent) and in other revenue (up 80.9 percent). In January and February 2023, total revenue recorded an increase of 113.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Tourism showed an increase of 82.3 percent and the Cruises sub-segment a 174.4 percent increase. The other revenue lines registered a 97.3 percent increase and the number of tickets was up 93.2 percent. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- Cruise on the road to recovery: According to GfK figures, cruise providers generated sales of EUR 4.1 billion with river and ocean cruises in the past fiscal year (2019: 5.2 billion). Ocean cruises accounted for 3.4 billion (2019: 5.1 billion) and river cruises for 685 million euros (2019: 853 million). The number of passengers was 3.2 million; 500,000 fewer than in 2019. Read more
- Cycling tourism is growing – railroads must make improvements: According to the results of the new ADFC Cycling Travel Analysis, cycling tourism continues to grow steadily and more and more excursionists are using rail to get to and from their destinations – although many vacationers are dissatisfied with the rail service. According to the study, two-thirds (67.9%) used their bikes for excursions in 2022. 38 million people took a total of 445 million day trips – that’s an average of nearly 12 bike trips per person. Last year, 4.6 million people also opted for a real bike trip including overnight stays, up from 3.9 million the previous year. This means the numbers have almost reached pre-Corona levels. 29 percent of excursionists and 50 percent of bike travelers use rail to get there, but give it a poor report card. Half complain about problems in general. Three out of four travelers complain about too few parking spaces on the trains. And half of the rail travelers feel that the stations are not bike-friendly. Read more
- Fraport wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions faster: The long-term goal remains the same: All airports in which Fraport holds more than 50 percent or has a controlling role by shareholder agreement are to become completely CO2-free by 2045. And Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte promises: „We will achieve this without offsetting our emissions.“ So far so good, but climate protectors are impatient people per se. Fraport is now responding to this by stepping up its commitment to climate protection. In its own sphere of influence, carbon dioxide emissions are to be limited to 95,000 metric tons as early as 2030. For Frankfurt Airport, this means a maximum of 50,000 tons of CO2 emissions. And that is quite ambitious. So far, only 19,400 metric tons have been saved through energy optimization, 3,200 metric tons through the use of LED lamps, 1,500 metric tons through the expansion of the electric vehicle fleet, and 1,300 metric tons through energy-saving measures in the baggage handling system. For the main site in Frankfurt, more green electricity in particular is to be a major lever for reducing emissions. To this end, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been concluded with the energy supplier EnBW. From 2026 onwards, around 85 percent of annual electricity requirements are to be covered by wind power from the North Sea. In addition, large-scale photovoltaic systems on the airport site are to supply a further relevant share of the energy required. Read more
- Airline Passenger Demand Remains Strong: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel demand is continuing in 2023, based on January traffic results. Total traffic in January 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 67.0% compared to January 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 84.2% of January 2019 levels. International traffic climbed 104.0% versus January 2022 with all markets recording strong growth, led by carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. International RPKs reached 77.0% of January 2019 levels. “Air travel demand is off to a very healthy start in 2023. The rapid removal of COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese domestic and international travel bodes well for the continued strong industry recovery from the pandemic throughout the year. And, importantly, we have not seen the many economic and geopolitical uncertainties of the day dampening demand for travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 376.3% increase in January traffic compared to January 2022, by far the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions, but off of a very low base when much of the region was still closed to travel. Capacity rose 167.1% and the load factor increased 36.6 percentage points to 83.3%, the highest among the regions. European carriers saw a 60.6% traffic rise versus January 2022. Capacity increased 30.1%, and load factor rose 14.2 percentage points to 75.0%. “With strong travel demand continuing through the traditionally slower winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, the stage is set for an even busier spring and summer. At a time when many are just beginning to enjoy their newly restored travel freedoms, it is especially disappointing to see the Dutch government making plans to limit their movements by unilaterally and unjustly reducing operations at Schiphol Airport,” said Walsh. Read more
- Caribbean: Despite global pressures such as high inflation, the war in Ukraine, the ensuing energy crisis, and an impending economic recession, the outlook for Caribbean travel and tourism is favorable, according to the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Delivering the region’s 2022 “Tourism Performance and Outlook Report” in Bridgetown today, Neil Walters, Acting Secretary General of the CTO, confirmed that the Caribbean had one of the quickest recovery rates globally in 2022, with 28.3 million registered tourist visits in 2022. This represents 88.6 percent of the visitors who arrived in 2019, which served as the baseline year for typical tourism activity before the pandemic. Arrivals from the European market increased by 81 percent in 2022 when compared to 2021. The 5.2 million tourists from this market were almost double the 2.8 million in 2021. This represented 18.3 percent of all arrivals in 2022. Due to travel restrictions in early 2022, the Canadian market has recovered more slowly at 60 percent, while the lack of availability of intra-regional airlift has negatively impacted regional connectivity.
- France: Following the devastating fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in April 2019, renovation is proceeding according to plan. It is scheduled to reopen for the feast of the Virgin Mary on Dec. 8, 2024. The interior, including the altar, baptismal font and 1,500 seats, will be redesigned. The restoration received 854 million euros in donations.
- Indonesia: On the Indonesian island of Java, the Merapi volcano erupted. Ash was hurled around 3,000 meters into the air. According to the authorities, traffic at Yogyakarta Airport, 32 kilometers away, and at the Borobudur temple complex, which is popular with tourists, has not been affected so far.
- Ireland: Tourism Ireland launches the marketing campaign „Ireland makes your heart beat faster“ on March 14. Famous personalities and vacationers will share what they appreciate about Ireland and what special moments, experiences, places and people they remember from their trip to Ireland. The campaign continues to offer a lot of room for ideas and implementation, says Tourism Ireland. For example, participants of the evening event „Irish Night“ during the ITB were able to record their experiences with Ireland in writing on a display. The ideas collected in this way will also be incorporated into the content of the campaign in the future.
- Japan: From the beginning of the Corona pandemic, the Japanese nevertheless consistently wore mouthguards, indoors or out. Laws were not necessary for this. The state merely issued recommendations. But even these have been lifted since the start of today. Only in medical facilities, nursing homes and in crowded public transport must masks continue to be worn, according to the new guidelines. Observers, however, expect the country’s citizens to maintain their previous habit of wearing masks everywhere – often even alone in cars – for the time being.
- Nepal: In order to increase the safety of hikers and strengthen the local economy, the government of Nepal will no longer allow tourists to hike in the Himalayas without a mountain guide as of April. These guides must be employed by a trekking company registered by the government. Climbers will still only need a paid permit from the Ministry of Tourism.
- Portugal: For Portugal, 2022 was the year of superlatives. The country took in a total of 15 percent more with tourism than before Corona. Nuno Fazenda, Secretary of State for Tourism, expects Portugal to build on this success in 2023. Revenue increases of 8.6 percent compared to 2022 are expected. „We have received very positive feedback from tour operators, airlines and travel agents. The booking trend is clearly going up,“ Fazenda says. „We have recovered from the Corona pandemic and signs are pointing to growth.“ Revenue from German travelers was also great in 2022 – with a 19.8 percent increase in revenue compared to 2019, although that included a slight 7.3 percent decrease in German guest numbers and a 9.4 percent decrease in overnight stays.
- Turkey: At an expert panel on Turkey tourism initiated by SunExpress at the ITB, SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki, Bentour CEO Deniz Ugur and Steffen Kassner from schauinsland-reisen discussed the impact of the terrible earthquakes, Turkey’s resilience, and also gave an outlook on the promising summer season. The three discussants affirmed at the beginning their confidence in Turkey as a vacation destination and explained that they also wanted to set an example with the panel. At the same time, they pointed out the great solidarity within the entire tourism industry after the earthquake disaster. Furthermore, the popular vacation regions such as the Riviera coast were not affected by the earthquakes due to the great distance. „As expected, the terrible tragedy that struck Turkey a month ago, and which still depresses us, has also briefly manifested itself in slight declines in bookings. Nevertheless, our advance bookings for the coming summer are already 60% above those of the previous year, which is enormous. Incidentally, this applies across all channels, from direct sales to our partners such as Bentour and schauinsland-reisen,“ says Max Kownatzki, describing the current booking situation for the summer. „We are therefore very optimistic about the coming months and expect passenger growth of 10% across our entire route network this year compared to 2022.“
- Thailand: This week, 200,000 people had to receive medical treatment due to smog in large parts of the country, the Thai Ministry of Health announced. Since the beginning of March, more than five million people have been diagnosed with illnesses caused by air pollution. Dangerous concentrations of particulate matter exist in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
- Singapore: Vacationers who choose to stay in the Southeast Asian state can experience almost 40 attractions free of charge. This is Singapore’s way of boosting tourism in the wake of the pandemic. The bonus program, unveiled at the ITB in Berlin by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is called „SingapoRewards.“ It allows international visitors arriving by air to discover new attractions or tours as well as hidden gems of the country free of charge. Vacationers who choose to stay in the Southeast Asian nation can experience nearly 40 attractions for free. This is Singapore’s way of boosting tourism in the wake of the pandemic. Many of the experiences on offer are lesser-known attractions or offer access to activities off the beaten track. Vacationers receive their voucher after registering via the „VisitSingapore“ app or the „SingapoRewards“ website.
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