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
- VACATIONS IN SWITZERLAND ARE BOOKED FOR LONG TERM AGAIN: Interhome Group’s latest vacation home report shows renewed confidence in Swiss vacation planning. Swiss people are making their vacation plans for the long term, with around half booking Interhome accommodations between 31 days and six months in advance, similar to pre-pandemic levels. Long-term bookings increased by 2% compared to the same period in winter 2018/19. Short trips of up to four nights have gained popularity for bookings made within 30 days of arrival. Switzerland remains a top vacation destination, with Valais and Ticino being the preferred regions. However, there is a rising interest in vacations abroad. Italy has surpassed France as the most popular summer destination among Interhome guests, followed by Spain, Croatia, and Switzerland. Tuscany, the northern Italian Lakes region, and the Côte d’Azur are expected to be the most popular regions worldwide. Read more
- GERMANY LEADS THE FIELD IN BUSINESS TRAVEL: Germany emerged as the top European destination for business travelers in 2022, attracting 11 million international business trips, more than doubling the previous year. While still below the 2019 levels, this marked a significant recovery for incoming business travel since the pandemic. Germany surpassed its competitors like France and Spain in terms of business travel volume, solidifying its position as the leading destination for European business travelers. The MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) segment also gained importance, with about 60% of European business travelers attending trade shows, conferences, or conventions in Germany. The mice-related travel sector saw a strong recovery, reaching 74% of its 2019 levels. Business travel holds a substantial role in German tourism, contributing twice as much to the country’s economy compared to the European average. The German meetings and conventions market has been gradually rebounding, with on-site events reaching 48.5% of the 2019 level in the past calendar year and increasing to 66% in the second half of 2022. Read more
- A SWIFT TOURISM RECOVERY: The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reports a continued swift recovery in the tourism sector in 2023. In the first quarter, international arrivals reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with over 235 million tourists traveling internationally. The Middle East had the strongest performance, exceeding 2019 arrivals by 15% and fully recovering pre-pandemic numbers. Europe reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels, while Africa and the Americas reached 88% and 85% respectively. Asia and the Pacific showed improvement, reaching 54% of pre-pandemic levels. Tourism receipts reached USD 1 trillion in 2022, with Europe leading at 87% of pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead, UNWTO projects a recovery of 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels for international arrivals in 2023. Challenges include the economic situation, inflation, and rising oil prices, which may impact travel decisions. Read more
- FAM TRIPS ARE IMMENSELY IMPORTANT: After years of being unable to conduct fam trips due to COVID-19 restrictions, tour operators and service providers are once again organizing them. However, with staff shortages and high customer demand, it may be challenging for some travel professionals to participate in these tours. A survey conducted by TRAVEL INSIDE revealed that fam trips are highly valued by 90% of travel professionals, with only 10% not considering them important. While time pressure is a concern for over half of the respondents, the majority still prioritize the educational benefits of these trips. About a quarter of the participants currently do not have the time to take part in fam trips. The criteria for who can participate in fam trips vary among respondents, with some allowing only a certain number of trips, while others have no restrictions or limit participation to certain employees or branch managers. Read more
- DRAMATIC VISA SITUATION AT GERMAN CONSULATES: A survey conducted among members of the Federal Association of German Incoming Companies (BVDIU) has revealed significant visa process difficulties in key source markets such as South Africa, China, India, the Gulf States, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. The long waiting times for visa appointments, up to 16 weeks, are causing Germany to lose its reputation and attractiveness as a travel destination. The inability of the Foreign Office to issue visas is particularly concerning, and currently, no tourist visas are being granted in German representations in China. As a result, Asian partners are redirecting their clients to other countries like France, Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, which offer faster and less complicated visa processes. The BVDIU emphasizes the urgent need for improvements in the visa situation to support the incoming tourism industry. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- SUNNY CARS RECORDS STRONG DEMAND: The first half of the fiscal year 2022/23 has been completed at car Sunny Cars, a rental agency, has reported a surge in demand for rented cars for summer vacations. The reservations for the first half of the financial year 2022/2023 have already surpassed the total reservations for the previous year. According to the managing director, European Mediterranean destinations like Spain and Greece are particularly in demand. The good news for customers is that prices have fallen in some cases, and bookings are now being made at shorter notice. However, vehicles are still not readily available in many destinations. The prices, which were averaging at 600 euros per booking in April 2022, have eased, and currently average just under 500 euros per booking. Read more
- TURKISH AIRLINES POSTS RECORD VENUE: Turkish Airlines, despite the impact of devastating earthquakes, achieved a net profit of USD 233 million in Q1 2023 and experienced a strong recovery in international demand. With 90 years of experience and effective crisis management, the airline recorded its seventh consecutive quarterly profit. Revenue reached USD 4.4 billion, a 43% increase compared to the same period in 2022, marking the highest first-quarter revenue in company history. Passenger revenue rose by 83% to over USD 3.6 billion, contributing to an impressive load factor on domestic and international routes. Despite global inflation, Turkish Airlines achieved an EBITDAR of approximately USD 770 million. The airline surpassed its 2019 international capacity level by 26% while leading Europe in daily flights. Furthermore, Istanbul Airport emerged as the busiest airport in Europe, reflecting the investments made in Turkey’s aviation infrastructure. Read more
- LUFTHANSA EXPECTS TRAVEL BOOM IN SUMMER: Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr expects a travel boom in the summer, with a new record in traffic revenue for the year. The airline saw positive results in the first quarter, with 22 million passengers compared to 13 million in the same period last year. Capacity has been expanded by 30 percent, reaching 75 percent of pre-crisis levels. Revenue increased by 40 percent to seven billion euros. Spohr sees high demand and pent-up travel demand after the pandemic. Premium class seats are in high demand. The company aims to achieve its 2023 targets and invest in operational stability. Lufthansa plans to increase capacity to around 82 percent in the second quarter and expects higher revenues and improved financial results. The airline aims for a significant improvement in adjusted EBIT for the full year and plans for passenger capacity of 85 to 90 percent compared to 2019. Lufthansa will hold its annual general meeting next week, where further market data will be presented, including the contemplated entry into Ita Airways. Spohr will also address EU regulations on climate protection, criticizing the lack of competition-neutrality regarding sustainable fuels. Read more
- FIRST AIRPORTS SHOW PROFIT AGAIN: Several airports in Germany have released their financial statements, indicating a recovery in the aviation industry after the COVID-19 pandemic. While Nuremberg and Stuttgart airports are still facing losses, Cologne/Bonn Airport has returned to profitability. The success of Cologne/Bonn Airport can be attributed to its cargo business, which remained strong during the pandemic. The airport saw a significant increase in sales revenue, reaching 317.4 million euros in 2022, and recorded a surplus of 17.2 million euros. The airport also experienced a rapid recovery in passenger traffic, with 8.8 million passengers in 2022 compared to 4.3 million in 2021, driven by vacationers and „Family & Friends“ travel to popular destinations such as Spain and Turkey. Despite generating increased sales revenue, Nuremberg Airport still ended the year with a negative after-tax result of 12.6 million euros, showing a slight improvement from the previous year. Similarly, Stuttgart Airport posted a loss of 16.1 million euros, but with an improvement compared to the previous year. The airport recorded a significant increase in passenger numbers, reaching 55 percent of the pre-crisis level. The positive financial results from these airports reflect a broader trend of recovery in the aviation industry. Read more
- MORE AND MORE LONG-DISTANCE TRAVEL BY TRAIN: The number of people traveling abroad by train is increasing, with over 21 million individuals crossing borders using rail services last year, according to Deutsche Bahn. International travel now accounts for 16 percent of Deutsche Bahn’s total long-distance traffic. Popular destinations include neighboring countries like France and Austria. However, there is still a need for better coordination and ticketing between different train providers for travel to destinations such as Spain, Portugal, and Eastern Europe. Deutsche Bahn collaborates with foreign rail companies to facilitate international trips, including the use of both ICE and TGV trains for German-French high-speed services. Read more
- IT’S SHAPING UP TO BE A STRONG YEAR FOR UNITED AIRLINES: United Airlines is on track for growth and expanding its service in 2023, with plans to fly to 114 cities outside the U.S. and increase its volume by 25%. The airline is adding flights to Switzerland and introducing a capital city service between Berlin-Brandenburg and Washington Dulles International Airport. United Airlines is committed to sustainability and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. It is investing in sustainable aviation fuel and plans to expand its fleet. Read more
- BALI:The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, is concerned about the increasing number of foreign visitors who disregard local laws and culture. To address this issue, he has proposed implementing a quota system that would require foreign tourists to register for their trip one year in advance. The governor aims to restrict tourist numbers and move away from mass tourism. Additionally, he plans to prohibit foreign tourists from renting motorbikes and limit driving to cars rented from travel agents. Koster has also requested the cancellation of the visa-on-arrival policy for Ukrainians and Russians, citing concerns about violations of local laws and illegal work. Bali has experienced a significant surge in tourism, attracting lifestyle bloggers, yoga instructors, and online content creators from abroad.
- CARIBBEAN: The Caribbean has experienced a faster recovery from the pandemic compared to many other tourism regions. Inbound numbers are increasing in 2023, with some islands already surpassing their 2019 levels in the first quarter. However, a lack of air capacity and rising airfares, particularly in the European market, remain challenges for the region’s full recovery. The 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace aims to address these issues. The region has the highest recovery rate worldwide, being just one percent behind the same period in 2019. Some islands, such as Guadeloupe, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sint Marteen, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Martinique, have exceeded their 2019 arrival rates. Despite this progress, the Caribbean is still 36 percent below 2019 levels in terms of gross domestic product but shows the second-fastest recovery globally.
- GOA: Goa, known for its hippie history, is now focusing on attracting international tourists interested in wellness, culture, and natural beauty. With its Portuguese heritage and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Basilica of Good Jesus and Se Cathedral, Goa offers cultural highlights. Visitors can also explore the spice plantations and enjoy relaxation through yoga and wellness activities, as well as picturesque beaches like Colva. Water sports are popular, ranging from sailing to parasailing. The Ministry of Tourism is promoting the undiscovered hinterland, offering homestay experiences and camper rentals for visitors to explore the state, including the stunning Dudhsagar Falls.
- MALTA: Malta will be hosting the maltabiennale.art, an art exhibition, from March to May 2024. The event will take place at twelve different cultural spaces, offering pavilions for interested countries to showcase their artistic focus. The exhibition’s theme, „Baħar abjad imsaġar taż-żebbuġ“ or „Olivenhaine am weissen Meer,“ explores the interplay between the sea, Maltese landscape, and Mediterranean lifestyle. The event is organized by Museum MUŻA, in collaboration with Heritage Malta, Arts Council Malta, and the Malta Tourism Authority. It welcomes artists from various fields and professionals involved in curating and managing exhibitions. Countries are also invited to apply for pavilions based on their artistic interests.
- OMAN: The digital platform Visitoman.om has successfully connected local and international tourism providers in Oman, offering standardized itineraries and tour packages. The platform aims to boost tourism in line with Oman’s National Tourism Strategy 2040. It provides various travel products, including hotels, tours, and unique experiences. Travel agencies can calculate their own remuneration, and bookings are promptly confirmed. Visit Oman is part of the Tourism Development Organization and collaborates with Sabre for expansion. Flight bookings to Oman are also available.
- PORTUGAL: Portugal’s tourism industry has rebounded from the pandemic with record sales and increasing numbers of German tourists. In February alone, tourism revenue reached 1.2 billion euros, a 42% increase compared to 2019. Madeira remains the top destination for German tourists, followed by the Algarve and the Lisbon region. Other regions like northern Portugal and Alentejo are also gaining popularity. The industry attributes this success to Portugal’s handling of the pandemic and diversified offerings in wellness, nature, culture, and gastronomy. The outlook for the future is positive, with a focus on catering to different target groups and budgets.
- SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa’s new Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille, acknowledges the progress made in the domestic tourism industry but highlights the need for further improvement. The country’s tourism sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is gradually recovering. In 2022, South Africa welcomed over 5.7 million visitors, including one million from overseas. While still far from the pre-pandemic level of 10 million visitors in 2019, the industry’s recovery is evident. The first three months of 2023 saw a significant increase in international guests, with over 2.1 million visitors, a 102% rise compared to the previous year. Approximately 387,000 travelers came from Europe, double the number from 2022. The South African tourism industry hopes that the Indaba trade fair will further boost its return to pre-pandemic levels. Over three days, exhibitors from South Africa and other African countries will present themselves to an international trade audience. The fair is expected to attract around 6,000 visitors, including tour operators and buyers from Germany.
- SOUTHEAST ASIA: The tourism industry in Southeast Asia is experiencing a boom with the return of visitors, but it also poses challenges. Flights within the region, especially intra-Asian flights, are not fully available, leading to a shortage of flight options. Indochina lacks flight connections, further complicating travel arrangements. Accommodations are also becoming scarce, particularly during peak periods and in popular regions. Travelers are advised to book their desired accommodations promptly or be prepared for some flexibility. Bali, in particular, is expected to be crowded during the summer months, while Singapore may experience high demand during the Formula One event in September. Capacity bottlenecks are observed in Japan and Vietnam. Geoplan has even implemented a stop-sale for certain hotels in the upcoming winter season.
- SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka aims to become Asia’s top long-haul destination, with a particular focus on the German market, which is the second most important incoming market in Europe. The country’s tourism industry has faced challenges due to political, economic, and social crises in recent months. However, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando is optimistic, stating that Sri Lanka has returned to normality and managed to overcome financial collapse.
- USA: The Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to cut the budget for air travel, which could have devastating consequences for summer air traffic. The head of the FAA warns that these cuts would hinder technology modernization, lead to layoffs, and impact the hiring of air traffic controllers. The bill still requires approval from the U.S. Senate and President Biden.
- UZBEKISTAN: A country rich in culture and history, offers an alternative to mass tourism. In the first quarter of 2023, approximately 1.5 million foreign tourists visited the country. Situated along the ancient Silk Road, Uzbekistan’s cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Tashkent hold a preserved memory of this historic trade route. The architectural marvels in these cities, influenced by Turkish, Soviet, and Uzbek styles, showcase impressive mosques, madrasas, towers, and mausoleums. The unique attractions include the „Qalas,“ ancient desert fortresses that protected the region from nomadic invaders. Despite the desertification, only a few of these fortresses remain recognizable today. The recent opening of Uzbekistan has resulted in a significant increase in tourism, with 1.5 million visitors arriving in the first quarter of 2023.
What else is brewing ?
Hey there, travel industry partners and colleagues!
We’ve got a fantastic lineup of news and updates for you today, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in.
First off, we have some incredible news. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic! It’s been more than three years since the WHO initially declared the global pandemic, and we’ve come a long way. While the journey hasn’t been easy, with over 764 million cases recorded and nearly 7 million lives lost, we can finally say that the virus epidemic no longer poses a global health emergency. Let’s celebrate this milestone and look forward to brighter days ahead.
Have you ever heard of Elefsina, Veszprém, or Timisoara? These are the hidden gems that have been crowned Europe’s Capitals of Culture for 2023. These cities may not be on everyone’s radar yet, but that’s precisely the goal of the European Capitals of Culture title – to bring attention to lesser-known cultural havens and inspire vacationers and tour operators alike. With meticulous preparation, sufficient funding, and strong resident participation, these cities are set to thrive in terms of tourism. It’s incredible to see how this prestigious title can transform a city and boost its image on the global stage.
Something has recently caused a stir in the aviation world. A video of an airline worker duct taping a Spirit Airlines plane at Nashville International Airport went viral on TikTok, garnering more than 1.7 million views. While some might find it concerning, others see it as a quirky anecdote. Regardless of the tape’s purpose, it’s a testament to the resourcefulness and creativity of aviation mechanics. Who knew duct tape could have such a fascinating role in the world of travel?
Speaking of travel, let’s explore how technology is revolutionizing the vacation planning experience. Did you know that nearly a third of German travelers are seeking inspiration through virtual reality? That’s right! Travelers are embracing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to immerse themselves in destinations before, during, and even after their trips. Companies like Timeride are paving the way with virtual time travel attractions and VR city tours, where guests can explore historic events and landmarks. This unique blend of real-world experiences and digital components is reshaping the way we create memories and share stories of our travels.
Last but certainly not least, we have some exciting news for beer enthusiasts. Condor, in collaboration with Brew Dog, has launched its very own beer brand called „Ferien Lager.“ This pleasantly light lager not only tantalizes your taste buds but also comes in a can with Condor’s signature yellow-striped look. With a balanced blend of Simcoe, Saphir, Hüll Melon, and Cascade hops, this beer promises a fruity taste and an incomparable aroma. It’s the perfect companion for your in-flight adventures and a refreshing reminder of the joys of vacation.
That’s it for today’s newsletter! We hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of trending topics in the travel industry. Remember to stay inspired, embrace new technologies, and raise a glass of Ferien Lager to celebrate the positive changes happening around us. Wishing you all a fantastic week ahead, filled with wanderlust and exciting adventures!
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.