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
- Price shock on the slopes – Skiing is getting really expensive: Ticket prices in Austria will rise by an average of eight to ten per cent this winter. Some ski ticket prices in Austria will increase significantly this year, but this does not seem to dampen the joy of skiing. According to Franz Hörl, head of the Tyrolean business association and cable car operator, ticket prices will rise by an average of seven to eight percent. The potential for energy savings, on the other hand, is up to twelve per cent, and they are „aware of this responsibility“. In any case, the Tirol Tourist Board is „confident“ about the season. Despite rising lift ticket prices, the demand for skiing holidays is said to be there. However, the pricing was „a matter for the companies and associations“, Hörl emphasised. The eight per cent increase is below the current inflation rate. In the ski resort of St. Anton in the Tyrolean Oberland, ticket prices will in any case rise above average this winter. A day ticket will be about ten per cent more expensive, the price will rise from 61 euros to 67 euros. Energy-saving measures are also to be implemented. The industry had submitted „several serious proposals“ to the ministry, Hörl said. Now he expects the ministry to „say what they want“. However, most ski resorts already operate „very efficiently“ anyway. „It is of course difficult to take measures that do not affect the comfort and leisure experience of the guests,“ Hörl admitted. He gave some examples: Less station lighting, no more seat heating or restrictions on night skiing. Read more
- Successor sought for the 9-Euro-Ticket: Actually, everything is settled: the federal and state governments want a successor model for the 9-euro ticket for local public transport. The only problem is: who pays how much? This is where the transport ministers of the federal states are at loggerheads with the federal government. They commissioned a working group to present results by 12 October. The traffic light coalition in the federal government has agreed to provide 1.5 billion euros annually for a nationwide local transport ticket – if the federal states give at least as much. Regularly, regionalisation funds of 9.4 billion euros come from Berlin this year, plus another billion from another pot. The federal government gives the states billions in financial support for local transport in the form of so-called regionalisation funds, which the states and transport associations use to order services from transport providers. The Länder are willing to bear their share of the costs, but they generally insist on more money from the federal government for buses and trains. On the one hand, they want a structural increase in regionalisation funds of 1.5 billion euros this year, and on the other hand, they want an additional 1.65 billion euros each in 2022 and 2023 due to massively increased energy prices. This is also intended to provide better connections to rural areas. „Where there is no train, where there is no bus, even the cheap ticket is of no use to us,“ said Brandenburg’s head of department Guido Beermann (CDU). Saarland’s Minister-President Anke Rehlinger emphasised that the discussion should not only focus on one ticket model. An expansion of public transport is necessary. „What good is a cheap bus that doesn’t run in the end,“ said Rehlinger. Read more
- Travel Distribution – Turkey and Maldives top, but bookings still below the level of 2018/2019: The booking business for the winter is going well – even if the figures are still below those of the winter 2018/2019. However, some holiday destinations are already showing strong booking figures: The Maldives are already achieving the sales level of the pre-Corona winter half-year. This is only topped by Turkey, which is currently 16 per cent up. Meanwhile, a trend of the past months continues in the winter business: Germans continue to book at much shorter notice than before the Corona pandemic. This is one of the reasons why overall bookings for the winter are currently still restrained. According to DRV President Norbert Fiebig, this behaviour is in line with the trend towards package tours. More than 70 percent of all new bookings are still package tours. Those who had already booked their winter holidays also continued to show a willingness to spend. This is confirmed by the figures of the data service provider Travel Data + Analytics (TDA). Winter booking sales were still down 33 per cent at the end of August compared to the pre-Corona winter half-year 2018/2019. These figures include holidays organised as packages or in modules, booked in travel agencies and on online platforms of tour operators as well as with online travel agencies. In terms of turnover, the Canary Islands are currently the most popular winter travel destination. Egypt follows in second place. Third place is taken by the first long-haul destination, the Maldives. Fourth to sixth place goes to Turkey, the Dominican Republic and Thailand. The United Arab Emirates (7th), Mexico (8th) and Mauritius (9th) are also popular in the cold season. At the bottom of the top ten is the USA. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- Price jump for tickets – the time of cheap flights is over: Air ticket prices have risen unusually sharply in recent months. Travellers will also feel the effects during the autumn holidays. Cheap was yesterday: the times when travellers could fly to Majorca for 10 euros and all over the world for a few euros more are over. Data from the Federal Statistical Office show how hard the break is. According to this, ticket prices in Germany skyrocketed by up to 12.5 per cent on average in the month of August compared to the same month last year. By way of comparison, the annual inflation rate in August was 7.9 per cent.The price increase is even more stark when comparing prices with pre-Corona levels: compared to August 2019, domestic flights cost 25.0 per cent more. For international flights, the increase was 22.7 per cent. The reasons for the drastic price increases are obvious: too expensive paraffin, too few aircraft, too few staff, increased production costs. The credit insurer Allianz Trade sees the sharp rise in paraffin costs since the Russian attack on Ukraine as the main reason for the high price phase. However, these problems will remain with the airline industry for the time being, with no rapid improvement in sight. Experts warn that travellers will have to prepare for higher ticket prices for years to come. Especially during the autumn holidays, many consumers feel that a lot has changed in European air transport. The comparison portal Check24 shows significantly higher average prices for the period from 4 October to 6 November: For example, a return flight to the Canary Islands costs an average of 464 euros. That is 21 per cent more than a year earlier and even 30 per cent more than in the same period before the Corona crisis. Read more
- Airlines must make greater use of airport slots again: Airlines are to be obliged to use their slots again as they did before the pandemic. Airlines will have to use their take-off and landing rights in the EU more in future in order not to lose them. Representatives of the EU states agreed on Wednesday that, following exceptions due to the corona, almost the standard use of slots should apply again for the winter season. The background to this are EU rules that are supposed to ensure fair competition: For an airline to be allowed to keep its slots at large airports, it must also use them. Actually, a quota of 80 per cent applies during an entire flight schedule period. The agreement reached on Wednesday provides for a slightly reduced quota of 75 per cent for the winter flight schedule 2022/23, according to a statement by the Council of EU States. In order to avoid empty flights, this rule was partly completely suspended by the EU Commission during the Corona pandemic. With the normalisation of air traffic, it was then gradually adapted. As it was further stated on Wednesday, the EU Commission should be able to change the rules again if necessary, for example in a health crisis or because of the war. In addition, airlines could in future have unused slots credited in justified cases. The agreement still has to be formally adopted by the EU member states, which is expected to happen on 17 October. Read more
- Latam aims to emerge from insolvency in early November: „LATAM Airlines“, the largest Latin American airline, has set the amount of bond issuances and presented a detailed financing plan to raise funds to exit the US bankruptcy proceedings in the first week of November. Due to the impact of the pandemic, „LATAM Airlines“ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 and received court approval in June to exit the proceedings after submitting a reorganisation plan. This aims to raise around US$8 billion through a combination of a capital increase, the issuance of convertible bonds and new debt. In a notice to the Financial Markets Authority (CMF) on Tuesday evening local time, „LATAM“ said the exit financing was structured as a combination of a US$500 million revolving credit facility, US$1.1 billion term financing, a US$750 million five-year bridge facility and a US$450 million five-year bond. In addition, there is a US$750 million seven-year bridge loan and a US$700 million bond maturing seven years after the issue. Read more
- Lufthansa plans a new low-cost airline despite problems: The Lufthansa Group cannot rest. Last week the pilots of Eurowings Germany went on strike for one day. The cockpit crews demanded longer rest periods in addition to the already agreed salary increase. Now Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr is campaigning for industrial peace. But the mood remains on the ground – also in view of plans for the next low-cost airline. Despite all the internal squabbles with some subsidiaries, Lufthansa’s CEO is planning another airline. This time to take over the unprofitable feeder flights, the Handelsblatt reports. Internally, the project is called Cityline 2.0. The airline can take over today’s Lufthansa flights to the major hubs as a feeder. Whether the new airline will ever take off also depends on the negotiations with the staff of the parent airline. Read More
- Hurtigruten Expeditions relaxes Corona rules: The testing requirement on Hurtigruten Expeditions‘ ocean voyages has been dropped – with the exception of the Antarctic voyages. However, full vaccination protection is still required on all routes. Hurtigruten Expeditions has updated its corona rules as of 1 October 2022. Pre-voyage tests have been completely abolished – with the exception of Antarctic Expedition voyages, for which the testing requirement remains. The mask requirement on board the expedition ships, during landings and on land excursions has also been abolished. However, the specialist still requires proof of complete vaccination protection. This applies to all guests with an age of at least twelve years. A booster vaccination is recommended but no longer required. All crew members on Hurtigruten Expeditions‘ expedition ships are also fully vaccinated. Read more
- Cuba: After the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, the clean-up work in Cuba is in full swing. In large parts of Cuba, various hotels had to close their doors after the hurricane. The local forces are making good progress with the clean-up work and repairs to the infrastructure. The Ministry of Tourism has announced that the first hotels will reopen in November.
- Czech Republic: The Czech Republic is imposing an entry ban on Russians with a Schengen visa for tourist stays, sporting or cultural events. The measure will apply from 25 October, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky announced after a cabinet meeting in Prague on Wednesday. It does not matter which EU member state issued the visa. Shortly after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine at the end of February, the Czech Republic had already suspended the issuance of new visas to Russians, with a few exceptions.
- Florida: The communities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Florida have given the all-clear. They were largely spared by Storm Ian, so beach life can now begin again. Hotels, restaurants and shops are also open again for visitors. The city centre of St. Pete can be visited by tourists without significant restrictions.
- Israel: The Negev Desert is to be developed into the strongest tourism magnet within Israel by 2030. The Ministry of Tourism is planning „extensive investments in the tourism infrastructure of the region“. This includes the expansion of transport connections, new accommodation for different target groups as well as visitor centres and the redevelopment of the coastline of Eilat.
- South Africa: The country is planning to close the access road into the Kruger National Park via Numbi Gate. The National Park Authority has already warned against using the road, which is considered dangerous. In the past, there have been protests, attacks and kidnappings on the pothole-strewn road. Now the access is to be closed.
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