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
- ONE FIFTH OF GERMANS CANNOT AFFORD A VACATION: Approximately 19% of Germans cannot afford a vacation this year, according to a Forsa survey for the RTL magazine „Life.“ This percentage rises to 39% among individuals with a net income below 2,500 euros. Factors such as record inflation, higher energy prices, the pandemic’s impact, and increased flight costs contribute to this situation. A Lufthansa spokesperson expects flight prices to continue rising due to sustainability and climate protection efforts by airlines. TUI CEO Sebastian Ebel predicts the absence of last-minute vacation deals this summer. FDP-Bundestag member Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann sympathizes with Germans frustrated by rising vacation prices and suggests considering domestic travel, such as visiting the Black Forest, instead of flying long distances. Read more
- SERVICED APARTMENTS BETTER OCCUPIED THAN 2019: The serviced apartments market in Germany experienced a strong recovery in 2022, with an average occupancy rate of 80%, up from 77% in 2019, according to a report by Apartmentservice. The segment benefited from pent-up travel demand, initially from leisure travelers and later from business travelers returning from other countries. Berlin saw exceptional performance in occupancy, average price, and revenue per available room, along with Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Operators in the segment expressed optimism and positive outlooks for the overall market. Adina hotels remained the market leader, and Numa emerged as a new player in the top 10. The serviced apartment segment in Germany currently has over 44,400 units, and further expansion is expected with an increase of 16,000 units by the end of 2025. The segment shows interest in short-stay offerings and hybrid concepts combining serviced apartments with co-working, coliving, gastronomy, and event space. Read more
- THE CHEAP TRAVEL REMAINS COMPLETELY ABSENT: Despite inflation and the energy crisis, Germans are not holding back on their travel plans. In fact, people are spending more on vacations this year. According to Dertour, there has been an increased demand for higher-star hotels, with 82% of vacationers booking 4- or 5-star accommodations. Many travelers are also opting for all-inclusive deals, with a 37% increase compared to three years ago. TUI reports a „strong booking trend,“ with 8.3 million bookings for the summer, a 13% increase from last year and nearly matching the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Analyst firm TDA notes that revenue gains are surpassing higher travel prices, indicating continued strong vacation demand. While bookings for the summer are up 23% compared to last year, there is still a 27% gap compared to the 2019 summer season. Overall, Germans are maintaining their curiosity and love for travel despite economic challenges. Read more
- WHAT LAST MINUTE VACATIONERS HAVE TO PAY: According to Holidaycheck, the average daily costs per person for a one-week trip with flights, hotels, and transfers in popular German destinations for families with children over the age of two are as follows:
- Turkey: €113
- Egypt: €117
- Spain: €129
- Greece: €147
For couples booking in May for summer trips, the average daily costs per person are:
- Turkey: €121
- Egypt: €127
- Spain: €141
- Greece: €151
TUI CEO Sebastian Ebel mentioned that last-minute vacations at cheap prices are no longer common. Prices are expected to be higher shortly before departure, as many bookings are made closer to the travel dates. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- FACIAL RECOGNITION REPLACES BOARDING PASS: Berlin Brandenburg Airport has introduced „BER Traveller,“ a digital service for biometric access control. Initially available to Hon Circle members and Lufthansa Group airline senators, these passengers can now access the priority security checkpoint using facial recognition, eliminating the need for a boarding pass. Registration and enrollment of biometric data in the Fast ID app is required, with further features planned such as self-service machines, gate boarding, and lounge access through facial recognition. Read more
- TECHNOLOGY TO CURB NEARLY DOUBLED BAGGAGE LOSS: According to a report by Sita, the number of mishandled baggage has nearly doubled in recent years. In 2021, 4.35 out of every 1,000 pieces of luggage were incorrectly transported, but the number rose to 7.6 pieces of luggage in the following year. Sita attributes this increase to the resurgence of international flights and long-haul routes, as well as a shortage of qualified staff and congestion at airports after the pandemic. The need for reflight, the automatic forwarding of delayed baggage, costs the industry approximately $30 million annually. Sita suggests that appropriate digital solutions could save this money. For instance, a system could automatically identify and rebook luggage onto the next available flight, while simultaneously notifying the passenger. Sita is working with Lufthansa to implement such a solution, which a feasibility study suggests could automatically forward 70% of misrouted baggage at Munich Airport alone. Read more
- PAX NUMBERS & AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS INCREASE – BUT ARE (STILL) BELOW PRE-CORONA-LEVELS: Swiss airports saw a significant increase in passenger numbers and aircraft movements in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year. A total of 10.9 million passengers were recorded, marking a 55% increase. However, this figure is still 16% lower than in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Aircraft movements, including takeoffs and landings, also rose by 31%, reaching a total of 87,000. Zurich-Kloten accounted for nearly half of all aircraft movements, followed by Geneva-Cointrin and Basel-Mulhouse. St.Gallen-Altenrhein had the highest number of regional aircraft movements. Bern-Belp had only one flight movement, while Lugano did not record any in the first quarter of the year. Read more
- ARGENTINA: Ushuaia, Argentina, is expanding its cruise terminal to meet the growing demand for Antarctic voyages. The jetty has been extended to accommodate two more ships, with plans for further expansion and a „world-class“ terminal. The city is a major port for Antarctic travel, hosting 14 cruise operators. In the last season, Ushuaia received 504 ships with 132,279 passengers. The upcoming seasons already have numerous bookings, indicating strong potential for growth in the cruise industry.
- FRANCE: France has implemented a new decree banning short-haul flights on domestic routes that can be traveled by train in under two and a half hours. The ban affects routes such as Paris to Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux, leading to longer travel times for passengers. The decision aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The ban was proposed in France’s 2021 Climate Law and has been approved by the European Commission. Critics argue that the ban has a limited environmental impact and may lead to an increase in car travel. Private flights are not affected by the ban, but the government plans to introduce a climate surcharge for them next year. Green politicians have called for a complete ban on private flights.
- GEORGIA: Georgia made a strong impression as the partner country at the ITB tourism trade show in Berlin with the theme of „Infinite Hospitality.“ Tamar Koriauli, Deputy Head of the National Administration of Tourism of Georgia, emphasized the warmth and diversity of the year-round destination. Germany is an important market for Georgia, and the country aims to strengthen its presence by establishing valuable contacts at ITB. Collaborations with airlines and the launch of campaigns and information tours are planned to attract tourists. Georgia also aims to target new groups, particularly focusing on sustainability, with a goal to become the leading year-round eco-tourism destination in the region by 2030. Additionally, the country is looking to expand its presence in the business travel segment, with new hotel projects on the horizon.
- ITALY: Italy’s 2023-2027 Tourism Strategic Plan has received approval from the country’s Chamber and Senate Production Activities Commissions. The plan aims to bridge the gap between academic training and industry needs, promote environmental sustainability, and boost off-season tourism. It also suggests tax incentives and exemptions to stimulate the sector, and calls for a unified qualification for tourist guides. The approval marks a significant step in maximizing the potential of Italy’s tourism industry.
- ITALY: Travel prices are soaring due to inflation, increased fuel costs, and economic uncertainties. Consumer associations warn that travelers may need to sacrifice one or two days of vacation per week during the high season. In Italy, inflation reached 8.3% in April, leading to significant price hikes in transportation, including airline tickets (up to 45% more expensive), cruises (46% increase), and trains (10% increase). However, ferry prices have dropped by half. Vacation packages have jumped by 26.8%, while food products, ice creams, soft drinks, and beer have also seen substantial price increases. Other affected areas include bicycles (+4.8%), motor homes, caravans, trailers (+15.6%), and the marine sector (+12.6%).
- MEXICO: Ongoing ashfall from the Popocatépetl volcano has caused disruptions in air traffic in central Mexico. The International Airport of Puebla will remain closed until Tuesday morning for runway cleaning, while Mexico City airport experienced flight cancellations and delays. Over 7,000 troops were deployed near the volcano, and evacuation routes and emergency shelters were reviewed. While volcanic activity is expected to be contained, the warning level remained at „yellow phase 3,“ one step away from a red alert. Popocatépetl is a highly active volcano located on the border of México, Puebla, and Morelos states, with a significant population residing within a 100-kilometer radius.
- MIAMI: PortMiami achieved its busiest passenger day ever on April 9, with a total of 67,594 guests visiting the homeport. Eight different cruise ships were docked, including the Carnival Celebration, Carnival Horizon, Explorer of the Seas, MSC Seascape, Norwegian Encore, Oasis of the Seas, Seabourn Ovation, and Scarlet Lady. The ships offered various itineraries to destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. PortMiami expressed gratitude to its cruise partners and staff for contributing to the milestone.
- SWITZERLAND: On June 18, 2023, Switzerland will hold a vote on the Climate Protection Act, which aims to gradually reduce oil and natural gas consumption and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Swiss Travel Association (SRV) and many other tourism institutions strongly support a „Yes“ vote, as they believe the climate law benefits the travel industry without imposing bans or new levies. However, an online survey conducted by TRAVEL INSIDE indicates that the Swiss travel industry is not as supportive of the Climate Protection Act as the SRV. The survey shows that 55% of participants oppose the climate law, while 5% are undecided, leaving only 40% in agreement with the Swiss Travel Association’s stance.
- TOBAGO: Tobago aims to attract more German travelers through new flights, sustainable projects, and infrastructure expansion. Despite a decline in arrivals last year, the island has seen improvement since the winter season. Investments are being made in port improvements and high-end accommodations. Tobago considers Germany its second most important market and seeks a constant relationship. Nature conservation and ecological programs are prioritized, while marketing campaigns position Tobago as the „green island of the Caribbean.“ The airport will be upgraded sustainably, and Condor’s new nonstop service from Frankfurt supports tourism efforts.
What else is brewing?
Brace yourselves for an exciting announcement from Uber—it’s time to make a splash in Greece! Get ready for water cabs, coming soon to the picturesque island of Mykonos.
Starting in mid-June, you can hop aboard a boat trip with Uber’s new water cab service. Say goodbye to the hassle of traditional transportation and embrace the convenience of booking your boat adventure through the Uber app. Gather your crew of up to eight travel buddies and embark on an unforgettable journey across the crystal-clear waters of Mykonos. But wait, there’s more! Uber Boat has big plans to expand its services to other popular Greek islands, so you can explore even more of the breathtaking coastlines this beautiful country has to offer. Soak up the sun, feel the wind in your hair, and let the adventure begin—all at the tap of a button.
Swiss Airlines is turning „flight shame“ into „flight fame“ in Switzerland! 🌟✈️ Despite rising airfares and climate change concerns, air travel is soaring high once again. But wait, Swiss Airlines has a green secret! 🌿 Introducing the epic ‚Green Tariff‘ on European routes, available in Economy and Business Class. For a small fee, you get extra perks like free rebooking and extra miles. But here’s the eco-magic: Swiss is using the funds to fuel Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), slashing CO² emissions by a massive 80%! 🌍🌱 While only three out of a hundred passengers have hopped on the green train, let’s give a round of applause to that adventurous ten percent who are booking the ‚Green Tariff‘ and paving the way for a greener future. Swiss Airlines is taking flight and going green!
Now, let’s shift gears to a funny incident at Chicago-O’Hare airport. You know how it usually goes—you wait at the baggage carousel, eagerly anticipating the arrival of your suitcase. Well, things took an unexpected turn at Chicago-O’Hare airport. On Tuesday (May 23), an argument broke out among passengers waiting at the carousel. And guess what? It escalated into a full-blown brawl, making quite the spectacle. While the police initially refrained from intervening, someone in the crowd thought it was important to capture the chaos on video. Talk about baggage carousel drama!
Last but not least, calling all wine enthusiasts! Get ready to indulge your taste buds and explore the rich wine heritage of Georgia in a virtual wine workshop. With a winemaking tradition dating back over 8,000 years and a fascinating array of indigenous grape varieties, Georgia is a true haven for wine lovers. Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 31, 2023, at 6:00 PM, and prepare for an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out—registration is only open until today!
Get ready for new adventures, greener choices, hilarious airport tales, and wine-filled discoveries. Stay tuned for more exciting updates, and let’s keep the spirit of travel alive!
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