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
- Surprisingly, the RKI announced that all states and regions are no longer high-risk areas as of March 3, 2022. 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
For the period before the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine, DRV speaks of a significant pickup in business with bookhound receipts above those of 2019. How big the impact will be, it is impossible to say less than two weeks after the invasion. In sales, the picture is highly varied. Travel sellers, for example, reported a downright collapse in bookings, while others are noting unchanged high demand as before the invasion. Serious cuts are to be expected, especially on the corporate side.
Cruise lines are almost unanimously canceling calls in St. Petersburg for the summer. TUI Cruises, Sea Cloud Cruises, MSC Cruises, Nicko Cruises, Viking, Atlas Ocean Voyages, Windstar Cruises and Carnival Corporation brands such as Aida Cruises, Costa, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line will no longer call at Russian ports for the time being. The same had previously been announced by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
But tour operators have also already completely canceled their Russia trips, for example Hauser Exkursionen or Chamäleon. The decision of the large OTA Expedia to no longer offer any tourist services in/to Russia caused a bigger stir. It is the first major OTA to take this step.
Meanwhile, TUI is clarifying its relationship with Russia: Russian TUI major shareholder Alexei Mordashov is leaving the travel group’s supervisory board in view of the EU sanctions imposed on him.
Other than that, the travel industry is getting highly involved in various aid projects for refugees from Ukraine. The #touristikhilft initiative of several associations, which is supported, among others, by the Verband Internet Reisevertrieb and the hotel association HSMA, calls for giving refugees from Ukraine a home and informs about contact points in the federal states. Free rooms can be reported there.
At the same time, the Ukrainian State Agency for Tourism Development issued an appeal to the travel industry worldwide to stop travel to and from Russia and to cease business relations completely.
Current major topics within the tourism industry in Germany
- TUI launches campaign for summer vacation: The motto of TUI’s comprehensive 360-degree campaign is „Experience the world anew with TUI“ and is supported by the new brand claim „Live Happy“. In addition to generating bookings for the summer, TUI wants to showcase its broad product portfolio and clearly position the brand accordingly. The aim is to appear dynamic and refreshed with the new brand identity and to continue to present itself as the market-leading provider of vacations and experiences. With a strong visual language and meaningful headlines such as „Best Outlooks“ and „Time for great things“, TUI wants to set an example and thus get in the mood for summer vacation 2022 after two years dominated by the pandemic. During the campaign period until the end of March 2022, attractive starting prices and various promotional codes will be advertised. The 360-degree campaign will be played out at various broadcast times on TV and radio as well as on external and internal online channels with the start of the campaign. In print, advertisements in daily newspapers and B2B as well as B2C media are planned throughout Austria. In addition, the campaign will be promoted by various sales measures, for example with posters and screens in travel agencies. Read the Article
- Business travel could take off massively: VDR President Christoph Carnier expects a significant increase in business travel in the upcoming months. He said the latest version of the Barometer survey points to a strong and short-term increase in business trips. Immense catch-up effects are to be expected, and the question arises as to whether the available capacities of the providers are up to the task. In addition, uncontrolled growth in business travel could have a negative impact on climate protection. However, when it comes to future business travel post-pandemic, most companies have ambitious cutback targets. Nearly 70 percent of all companies, for example, say they want to permanently reduce their travel by up to 30 percent – to save money and generate less CO2. Almost as many companies, however, expect business travel costs to rise. Read the Article
- DRV: Recovery expected – but Ukraine war brings uncertainty: Bookings for the important summer season are picking up and since the beginning of February have even been above the level of the pre-crisis weeks of February 2019. However, the Ukraine war is causing uncertainty. The impact of the war on the booking and travel behavior of people in Germany is not yet foreseeable. Lockdowns and travel restrictions again tore deep holes in the tourism balance sheet in the second Corona year. According to data from GfK consumer researchers, people in Germany spent a total of EUR28.8 billion on travel last year, down 10% from the Corona crisis year of 2020. Package tours and building-block offers from tour operators accounted for EUR10.4 billion – a year-on-year decline of 16% or EUR2 billion. In the record year 2019, organized travel had still generated sales of EUR 35 billion. According to Fiebig, the German government’s billions in aid to the economy during the pandemic prevented a collapse of the German travel industry’s infrastructure. Only isolated insolvencies and business closures were recorded in the industry. Read the Article
- Futouris and DRV launch climate project: Six months after the publication of a climate policy position paper, the sustainability initiative Futouris and the DRV want to take action to make progress on the issue. The first step is to establish a uniform standard to identify the climate impact of travel and travel components. In order to ensure that more climate-friendly trips are offered and booked preferentially, the emissions caused should first be calculated and presented in a uniform manner. This is what they have specifically set out to do with their new industry project ‚Klimabewusst reisen‘. The aim is to present a uniform industry-wide climate footprint of travel offers at points of sale. The long-term goal is to travel climate-neutrally. To achieve this, major efforts are needed that require broad support, DRV President Norbert Fiebig knows. Global tourism is a major contributor to global warming, accounting for around eight percent of all emissions. Almost two-thirds of these are caused by transport, the rest during the stay in the destination. Read the Article
Current major topics within the aviation industry in Germany
- War has massive impact on air traffic: In response to the attack on Ukraine, Germany has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft since Sunday afternoon. The ban applies to flights to Germany as well as overflights. The regulation, which is initially planned for three months, does not apply to humanitarian flights or emergencies. This will require significant rescheduling of flights to China, Japan and Korea. The war also has consequences for air traffic in the opposite direction. Aeroflot is suspending all flights to Europe as of today, Monday. Read the Article
- Air traffic continues to weaken in January: The start to the new year is proving difficult at Germany’s main airports. In January 2022, they handled only 6.2 million passengers, which is significantly more than in January of the previous year, but still 60.7 percent less than in the pre-pandemic January. The omicron wave and regionally tightened travel restrictions are listed as the main reasons for this. European traffic grew the most in January, bringing 4,094,581 air travelers to local airports, 277.4 percent more than the corresponding month last year. Intercontinental traffic increased by 219.5 percent to 1,363,204 passengers. Domestic air traffic (double counting due to departures and arrivals in the country) increased to 761,381 passengers, up 190.3 percent compared to January 2021. The busiest airports in January 2022 were:
- Frankfurt 2,203,901 passengers (up 150.2 percent)
- Munich 1,153,284 passengers (up 482.4 percent)
- Berlin 766,634 passengers (up 272.0 percent)
- Swiss will be the world’s first airline to use solar fuel: Swiss and the Lufthansa Group have agreed on a strategic collaboration with ETH spin-off Synhelion to bring solar fuel to market. Swiss will thus become the world’s first airline to use solar kerosene. Synhelion has developed a key technology to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from renewable energy sources. The unique process uses concentrated solar heat to produce synthesis gas, which is then used to synthesize kerosene in standard industrial processes. Such a sun-to-liquid fuel closes the CO2 cycle, as it only releases as much CO2 during its combustion as was previously used for its production. This is an important contribution to effectively decarbonizing air traffic. Read the Article
- Jamaica: As of March 1, 2022, international visitors will no longer need to obtain travel authorization to enter Jamaica. Travelers 12 years of age and older will only be required to provide a negative result from a Covid19 antigen or PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to travel. In addition, travelers to Jamaica no longer need to comply with travel-related quarantine measures. Read the Article
- Qatar: From February 28, 2022, new regulations will apply to entry into Qatar. Among other things, fully vaccinated travelers are now exempt from quarantine. The negative PCR test result is still valid for 48 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin. Read the Article
- Costa Rica: As of April 1, the previously mandatory completion of the „Pase de Salud“ will be abolished. As of that date, proof of health insurance or vaccination will no longer be required. From the same date, capacity restrictions in hotels and gastronomy will also be abolished. Read the Article
- Dubai: Effective immediately, an additional PCR test is no longer mandatory for vaccinated and recovered travelers. Unvaccinated persons, on the other hand, must now have completed this test 48 hours before departure – previously it was 72 hours. Read the Article
- Japan: As of March 1, visas will again be issued to incoming foreign nationals with visas for business travel as well as study visits and medium- and long-term stays. Visas that have already been issued will also regain their validity. Tourist travel is still not allowed. Quarantine rules have also been relaxed. Read the Article
- Israel: Israel has allowed unvaccinated tourists to enter the country without a special permit since Tuesday (March 1). From now on, unvaccinated tourists only have to undergo two PCR tests – one before departure and one after entry. Previously, entry for tourists was only possible with complete vaccination. From now on, unvaccinated Israelis no longer have to observe a quarantine of at least five days after entry. Read the Article
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.