Please note: the following information has been compiled from the most important German-speaking Trade Media.
Short Situational Overview – DACH region
- Entry into Germany is relaxed over the summer months. From 01 June, entrants will no longer have to prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered or tested (3G). The measures were designed to facilitate mobility and freedom of movement and travel. Whether it will then be reintroduced from September, however, is open at this stage. The Corona entry regulation amended by the Cabinet is initially valid until August 31. It would then have to be amended and extended again accordingly or else expire completely. However, stricter rules will remain in place for those entering Germany from so-called virus variant areas: They must undergo a 14-day quarantine in Germany, even if they have been vaccinated or have recovered. At present, however, no country has been designated as a virus variant area.
- The COVID infection numbers are currently going down after having reached an all-time high. the occupancy situation in hospitals is relaxed and death rates very low. About 76 % of the German population are now fully vaccinated, 69,4% in Switzerland and 74% in Austria.
- On April 3 all restrictions were lifted in Germany, only basic measures (or AdHoc, if necessary) stayed in place. However, most Germans still, for example, wear their masks indoors even where it is not an official requirement.
- Germany’s geopolitical situation because of the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to much anxiety about the Germans‘ planning for 2022. It is not only the peace crisis that worries them, but also various aspects, ranging from the country’s energy supply to the highest inflation in the last 30 years, as well as the threat to the country’s economic activity after two years of pandemic.
Current major topics within the tourism industry in Germany
- Payment service Paypal pushes into the tourism industry: The online payment service Paypal has overtaken the leading payment method in Germany for years – purchase on account – in terms of revenue share in e-commerce in 2021. This is shown in the study „Online Payment 2022“ by the EHI retail institute. However, the payment service is also increasingly being offered and used for travel bookings: In stationary and online travel sales, Paypal already ranks third as a payment method behind bank transfer (35.5 percent) and credit card (27.1). At 17 percent, the service is used to an above-average extent when vacations are booked online. For service providers, the share is 13 percent, and five percent for stationary sales. The extent to which Paypal is penetrating the tourism industry can also be seen in tourism IT. More and more technology providers are integrating the payment option into their software. In addition, Paypal is expanding its portfolio and has recently started offering „pay later“ services from a single source, including payment by installments and „pay after 30 days“. FTI has been offering the latter as one of the first tour operators since February to guests of FTI, Fünf vor Flug and Drive FTI. „The first experiences are good. Usage is still low, but slightly increasing,“ states FTI chief salesman Richard Reindl. Read more
- Is business travel growing stronger and faster after all?: How will the business travel market recover? Barbara Albrecht presented the forecast based on a McKinsey study from 2021. We can expect around eighty percent of the pre-pandemic volume. Companies with a high level of competition are among the returnees, as are those companies that value personal contact as a success factor. Young companies with many digital natives will continue to favor virtual meetings. This magnitude of market recovery was commented on by the panelists as conservative. However, no one dared to claim that the business travel market would surpass the values before the pandemic. The MICE segment is responsible for just under twenty percent of overnight stays in Switzerland. At CHF 330, however, the daily turnover per guest is almost twice as high as that of tourist guests. Incidentally, around two thirds of this added value is generated in cities. What will change? Sustainability, ROI considerations and meeting design are at the top of the list. Less plenary sessions with endless presentations, more activity in smaller break-out groups. „Bleisure“ is definitely more than a fad. The dovetailing of business as well as personal travel intentions will clearly increase. Which types of travel are among the losers? Day trips abroad as well as purely internal company trips are increasingly being avoided. The cost/benefit ratio is simply questionable. Read more
- Business is booming in the travel agencies: Many travel agency professionals report strong customer traffic, high sales volumes, and customers eager to book. „This is going to be the best May ever,“ one travel agent wrote on Facebook, adding, „People are booking more expensively.“ The prolonged lean period for travel agents appears to be over – at least for now. „In all three offices, we are working virtually through, without breaks; longer and longer,“ reports an office manager. Bookings are made at very short notice. However, because there are too few employees to cope with the number of customers, „everyone is working to the limit. For most travel professionals, the joy about the good business is much greater than the complaints about burdens. Read more
Current major topics within the aviation industry in Germany and Europe
- Bookings of leisure and business flights at a new record high: For the first time in two years, global booking volumes for leisure and business flights have exceeded the levels seen before the start of the pandemic. Spending on cruises, buses and trains has also risen significantly this year. That’s according to a new study from the Mastercard Economics Institute. The published „Travel 2022: Trends and Transitions Study“ provides key insights into the current travel habits of 37 markets. If the observed air booking trends continue, an estimated 1.5 billion more passengers will fly globally in 2022 than last year, according to the Mastercard Economics Institute analysis. Through the end of April, global bookings for leisure flights exceeded 2019 levels by 25 percent; bookings for short- and medium-haul flights increased by 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Global bookings for business flights exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in March, with long-haul flights in particular posting double-digit gains in April. The return to the office acted as a key driver here. Global cruise spending rose 62 percent from January to the end of April, but is still below 2019 levels. Bus travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels, while passenger rail spending remains down 7 percent. Car travel remains attractive, with spending on tolls and car rentals up nearly 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Read more
- Austrian air traffic almost at pre-crisis level: According to Austro Control, air traffic in Austria is almost back to pre-crisis levels. The volume of overflights has even now reached the volume of 2019. The pre-crisis level is expected to be exceeded by the summer. The load factor at Vienna Airport is currently at 80% compared to 2019, and 90% of flights from 2019 are expected to take off again in the summer, it added. For the summer, however, Austro Control expects a significantly increased traffic volume again: there will then be more than 3,500 aircraft movements per day in Austrian airspace, currently around 3,000. Around 650 aircraft per day are expected to take off from Vienna Airport in the summer, thus reaching around 90% of the pre-crisis level again. Read more
- Frankfurt Airport – Handling problems continue: Passengers at Frankfurt Airport will have to be patient in the upcoming travel summer. Frankfurt airport operator Fraport expects problems with aircraft handling, as 100% of staff are still not available. The ramp-up of air traffic from the Corona lull is proceeding very quickly, Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte said Tuesday at the MDax group’s annual general meeting in Frankfurt. Schulte said he expects passenger traffic in the summer to be between 70% and 75% of pre-crisis levels, with very strong peaks in operations. He apologized for the not always good quality of services. The Fraport CEO announced that, in close coordination with the airlines, the flight schedule would be equalized, as was already the case during the Easter period. Flights would have to be postponed or even canceled altogether to avoid chaos. At Easter, the main customer Lufthansa had already canceled more than 100 flights in order to maintain operations. Read more
- From one crisis to the next: foreign tourists avoid Poland: Before Corona, the historic capital Krakow had 14 million tourists a year. But this year, according to a survey by the Krakow Chamber of Tourism, 88 percent of providers are recording a very high number of cancellations. Yet hotels that were initially occupied by refugees have long been ready to receive tourists again. However, it is mainly the tour groups, which accounted for a large part of the demand, that are now staying away.
- USA: ESTA fees become more expensive: As the Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in the Official Gazette of the U.S. Government, the ESTA cost will increase from the current $14 to $21 as early as Thursday of this week, May 26. An application before departure to the United States, everyone must submit online to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
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.