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
- Premium Class Bookings Show Positive Growth Trend Amidst Pandemic Recovery: Premium class bookings, including first and business class, are recovering faster than overall passenger numbers, according to IATA statistics. North America leads the way, achieving a remarkable 107.7% compared to 2019. More leisure travelers are also booking premium seats, but it’s unclear how COVID years and sustainability debates will affect business travel. Easyjet and other airlines are seeing an increase in premium bookings, and low-cost carriers such as Norwegian, Finnair, and Volotea are also targeting the business segment. Despite the positive trend, the long-term effects of COVID and sustainability remain unknown. Read more
- Tourism year only four percent below 2019: Bookings at travel agencies and online portals are consistently above 2019 levels, up 25% from the same month last year and as much as 39% higher than March 2019. The 2022/23 winter season and the 2023 summer season are both only 4% below pre-COVID-19 levels. The travel months of April and May, with Easter and Whitsun, have shown particularly strong growth. However, the number of people booked on tour operator trips for the 2021 summer season is still 27% lower than in 2019. Read more
- Business demand drives up hotel rates: Business travel is driving up hotel rates in Berlin, according to the latest data from industry analyst STR. The average daily rate in March was up 16.5% from the same month in 2019, reaching EUR 112.14. Strong midweek demand from business travelers, with occupancy rates above 80% on weekdays, is pushing up room rates. While overall occupancy levels remain 12 percentage points below pre-pandemic levels, the trend is encouraging for the hotel industry. The same trend is visible in other European cities such as London and Amsterdam, which have seen improvements in profitability in February. Read more
- Winter tourism almost reaches pre-Corona level: Winter tourism in Austria is showing strong signs of recovery, according to preliminary data from Statistics Austria. Between November and March, there were 61.1 million overnight stays, with only 5.5% missing the record level in the same period of 2018/19. This represents an increase of 35.3% or 15.9 million compared to the same period last year, with foreign guests accounting for almost 47.7 million overnight stays. In March, tourism was still 13.7% below the pre-Corona level of the last season, but there was an increase of 6.4% compared to the same month last year, with significantly more visitors arriving for shorter stays. This trend is encouraging for the tourism industry, and a further increase in bookings is expected as travel restrictions ease. Read more
- That’s how many German guests went on a cruise in 2022: The German cruise market has rebounded, with nearly 1.9 million passengers in 2022, approaching pre-pandemic levels of 2.6 million in 2019. Northern Europe is the most popular cruising area, followed by the Mediterranean region. The determined average age of passengers was 47.5 years, the lowest level in recent years. A majority of 56% of respondents said they planned to take a cruise in the next two years. Shipping companies are taking measures for climate protection, such as the use of sustainable fuels and technologies to increase efficiency. Read more
- These forms of vacation are in vogue: According to a survey conducted by Kuoni and the Marketagent polling institute, Swiss people highly approve of sustainable and nature-based vacations away from volume tourism. 87% of Swiss respondents consider vacations away from volume tourism to be „very interesting“ or „rather interesting“, while 83% approved of nature-based vacations. Sustainable vacations also ranked high with 66% considering them at least somewhat interesting, with approval ratings among women slightly higher than men. Other attractive vacation options include road trips, train trips, sports and active vacations, and intergenerational vacations. Kuoni and its sister brands under the DER Touristik Suisse umbrella are promoting destination development projects to combat overtourism and encourage sustainable travel. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- Strikes and crises put the brakes on air traffic recovery: Air traffic in Germany is gradually recovering, but the industry is still struggling to reach pre-crisis levels due to strikes, rising location costs, and continued international crises. The ADV airport association reported that German airports recorded an increase of 58.8% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year, with just under 35 million arriving and departing passengers. However, travelers are still 31.2% short of pre-crisis levels in 2019. ADV CEO Ralph Beisel said the trend of increasing location costs, which account for about 30% of total costs, could make Germany less attractive for airlines to operate in. Of the 34.9 million passengers counted between January and March, intercontinental traffic performed best with 7.8 million passengers, an increase of 80.3% compared to the previous year. Read more
- ANA flies in profit again after three years: ANA Group, Japan’s largest airline, has returned to profit after three years due to a significant increase in sales and profits. ANA attributes this success to a strong recovery in domestic and international travel demand and sustainable cost management. The airline generated over €12 billion in sales in fiscal year 2022/23, which ended in March, representing a 67% increase compared to the previous year. ANA carried over 4.2 million passengers on international routes and exceeded last year’s figures with a seat load factor of 73.6%. ANA executives expect a further upward trend in the current fiscal year, with sales expected to reach the equivalent of €13.5 billion, and a net profit estimated at €549 million, despite existing geopolitical risks such as the war in Ukraine. The ANA Group expressed gratitude to its employees, customers, and stakeholders for the promising future of the company. Read more
- Demand for electric cars for vacation is on the rise: The demand for electric and hybrid rental cars for vacation is on the rise, according to a recent analysis by the booking platform billiger-mietwagen.de and vacation home portal Holidu. Although the number of rental car days of electric and hybrid cars still accounts for less than 1% of total bookings worldwide, their share has increased significantly within the last three years, with an increase of 435% since 2019/2020 to currently around 30,000 booking days. Norway is the world’s most popular country for e- and hybrid rental cars, followed by Sweden and France. The study also found that the share of vacation accommodations with charging options has increased to around 4.5%, with Norway leading the way with 13.3% of accommodations offered on Holidu having a corresponding charging station. Read more
- EU agrees on environmental labels for flights: The EU Parliament and member states have agreed to introduce environmental labels for flights to allow consumers to compare the environmental performance of flights operated by different companies on the same route. The expected CO2 footprint per passenger and the expected CO2 efficiency per kilometer will be indicated. Negotiators also agreed that a certain amount of sustainable fuels must be blended into aircraft fuels in the future, starting with at least 2% of aviation fuels from 2025 and increasing every five years. This is part of the EU’s plan to achieve its climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 and emitting no more climate gases at all by 2050. Read more
- Munich Airport aims to return to profitability in 2023: Munich Airport wants to return to profitability this year. Last year, with 31.6 million passengers, it came in at 70 percent of the 2019 level. This year, management wants to return to the black with 80 percent. The company is focusing primarily on long-haul routes and is hoping for many passengers on North American routes as well as a return of the lucrative China connections. Last year, the company posted a loss of 59 million euros – in 2021, the figure was a whopping 250 million euros. Read more
- Albania: The country continues to expand its tourism infrastructure, but in doing so it doesn’t want to become a mass vacation destination and shed its previous reputation as a low-cost destination, according to Mirela Kumbaro, Albania’s environment and tourism minister. „Cheap is not always sustainable,“ she says, „we want class instead of mass.“ To keep vacationers in the country longer, massive investments are currently being made in the construction of roads, highways, airports and ports – with financial help from Dubai, among others.
- China: China has climbed the ranks to become the fifth most popular long-haul destination for Swiss business travelers in the first three months of the year, with Shanghai being the most popular city. In general, Swiss companies spent 90% more on air tickets between January and March 2023 than in the same period last year, with bookings being made 31.4 days before the travel date on average. The index also shows a decline in ticket prices for business and economy class. Furthermore, the trend of Swiss companies taking fewer domestic flights is continuing, with only 0.2% of business travelers using them in the first quarter of 2023. This is likely due to companies‘ increasing emphasis on sustainability in business travel.
- Iceland: The island of fire and ice has made a strong comeback in recent years and has long been regarded as a trend destination in this country. Many tour operators are currently reporting a very high demand for Iceland tours. All the better that the island is constantly expanding its range of tourist infrastructure. This year, three hotels are scheduled to open, including a five-star property on the remote Eyjafjörður Fjord in the north of Iceland, a second Curio Collection property from Hilton Hotels in Reykjavík, and the Highland Base Kerlingarfjöll in Iceland’s highlands. In addition, a dip in the Hvammsvík hot springs beckons.
- Japan: Rail travel in Japan is convenient, and delays are virtually non-existent. Until now, vacationers could avoid the high prices for individual journeys by buying the Japan Rail Ticket. But the low price is now to come to an end. The Japanese state railroads want to make the ticket up to 70 percent more expensive in the fall. From October, the seven-day pass will cost 340 euros instead of the equivalent of 200 euros. Anyone traveling in Japan for 14 days will pay 545 euros instead of 365 euros. And according to the plans, tourists will have to pay 680 euros instead of 450 euros for the 21-day pass
- Malaysia: Tourism Malaysia is reporting a successful restart in 2022, with 10.07 million international tourist arrivals, generating EUR 6.06 billion in revenue. Despite the pandemic, the numbers represent almost a 50% recovery from 2019, exceeding the original target of 9.2 million international tourist arrivals. The country aims to continue the growth in 2023 with a target of 16.1 million tourist arrivals and revenues equivalent to EUR 10.5 billion, with an estimated 613,000 tourists from Europe and America. In 2022, Switzerland had 10,486 arrivals, Germany had 57,780, and Austria had 3,405.
- Mallorca: Mallorca hotels experienced a 76% occupancy rate during Easter 2023, up by 6 percentage points from 2022. The most booked hotels were in Cala Millor, Sóller, Palma-Cala Major, and Paguera. The majority of guests came from Germany, mainland Spain, the UK, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. Palma’s Son Sant Joan Airport experienced 1,344,375 passengers in March 2023, a 3.3% increase from March 2019, and 22.4% more than March 2022, with a total of 11,752 aircraft movements. Ryanair is set to set a new record for Mallorca air traffic with 84 European and North African destinations.
- USA: From May 11, travelers without Corona vaccination protection will also be able to fly to the USA. Then, some emergency rules from the pandemic era will expire, including proof of vaccination upon entry. Hospitalizations and deaths due to Corona have dropped by 90 percent, the White House justified the repeal.
What else is brewing ?
What’s up travel enthusiasts!
We have some exciting news for those of you who are looking to reduce your carbon footprint while exploring the wonders of Europe. A new handbook has been released, providing information on sustainable travel routes to 22 European vacation destinations, including the respective carbon footprint. The guide is available free of charge to travel agencies and tour operators, allowing them to inform customers about climate-friendly travel options. This is a result of the research project „Climate protection on medium-haul routes – airplane and car-free travel in Europe,“ which studied 60 travel options for popular European destinations, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. This project was carried out by four partners involved in sustainable travel: The Sustainable University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, the Centre of Applied Sciences at the University of Breda, the tour operator association Forumandersreisen, and the travel platform Wirsindanderswo.
But that’s not all! In Germany, the hotel industry is showing signs of recovery in 2022, with participating hotels reporting significantly increased revenues compared to the previous year. The top three highest-revenue brand hotels in Germany are Center Parcs Allgäu, Estrel Berlin, and Bayerische Hof Munich, with six vacation and leisure-oriented hotels among the top ten.
Looking beyond Europe, India has completed the construction of the world’s highest rail bridge, which is 1,315 meters long and stands almost 360 meters above the Chenab River. This incredible feat of engineering is part of a project to make the Kashmir Valley accessible to India’s rail network, which is expected to be completed by December 2023 or January 2024. The bridge has been designed to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 8 and could be used by tourists in the future.
But before you start packing your bags, be aware that flight delays in Germany rose sharply in the first quarter of 2022, with almost one in three air travelers affected. Frankfurt airport had the highest number of delays, with almost 39 percent of passengers experiencing delays. However, the good news is that the new sustainable travel guide will help you choose more environmentally friendly travel options that may be less prone to delays.
Former US President Barack Obama met Globetrotter founder Walter Kamm for a 30-second photo session and handshake in Zurich, where Kamm paid CHF 2500 for the meeting. Kamm and journalist Sara Aduse founded a foundation aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation, and they wanted Obama’s support. Obama’s simple response was, „Women shouldn’t do this to each other,“ which satisfied Kamm. Mission accomplished!
Lastly, luxury travel in the Middle East is focusing on decarbonization, waste reduction, and community initiatives for long-term gains instead of costs. Luxury travel is leading the tourism industry’s sustainable change in the Middle East, with a growing demand for sustainable offerings among consumers.
Keep exploring the world and all its wonders, but don’t forget to bring your eco-friendly mindset along for the ride!
Just read on and enjoy and tell your colleagues about our newsletter!
And if you have any doubt or would like to talk about how to approach these markets better, just get in touch with us. We’ll be delighted to help you.