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
- Pandemic behavior moves into the background: These are the key points of the Allianz Travel Study 2023 in Switzerland: travel intensity has increased, price increases are influencing booking behavior, unsettled behavior is fading away and protection via the Package Travel Act is an unknown certainty when booking at a travel agency. Read more.
- Sustainable business travel may cost something: Companies in German-speaking countries increasingly see themselves as having a responsibility to make more environmentally conscious decisions. When asked what measures to promote ecological sustainability have already been implemented or are planned, it is clear that companies are very keen to reduce their ecological footprint. This is shown by an Airplus survey of 148 top managers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The most popular measure, at 95%, is the conscious selection of the most environmentally friendly means of transport possible, such as the train or rental cars with electric drives. Directly behind is the selection of travel partners based on defined sustainability criteria with 94% approval, as well as the bundling of several business appointments on trips (less frequent, but longer trips) with 93%. Although the topic of ecological sustainability has definitely arrived in companies, it does not take on overriding importance from a corporate perspective. In the Airplus survey, top managers in the DACH region select the importance of „green issues“ in 10th place. The general economic situation, digital transformation and customer satisfaction are the joint top priorities for the company leaders. Among other topics, the discussion about artificial intelligence (5th place) is currently occupying companies more than ecological issues. Read more.
- TUI – Demand „normalizes“ again: The times of extreme late booking as towards the end of the Corona pandemic are apparently over. „Demand is returning to normal,“ says Stefan Baumert, head of TUI Germany, referring to average advance booking periods of around 100 days. He says they are slightly longer on average for summer vacations than for winter. This does not mean that there is no more last minute – as recently for Turkey and Greece, for example. The late booking business is however no longer so extreme. In addition, the price advantages are manageable and rarely exceed the early booking offers. According to Baumert, the summer showed that early bookers „were better advised than bargain hunters. Who waited too long, had to make frequently cutbacks with the desired date or the favourite room category“. According to TUI’s head of Germany, flex fares are still „in high demand. Read more.
- Recovery in business travel: Instead of 2026, business travel should have recovered by 2024, GBTA says. In its just-released „Business Travel Outlook 2023“ forecast, GBTA predicts that the business travel industry will have recovered from the Corona crisis as early as 2024. Previously, it had expected this to happen in 2026. Now, companies worldwide are expected to spend 1.3 trillion euros on corporate mobility again as early as 2024. And by 2027, this sum is even expected to rise to 1.65 trillion euros. euros. According to the GBTA, the reasons are pent-up demand, favorable global economic conditions and the fact that, despite many fears, the recession has still not materialized. For Germany, the association still expects a volume of 65 billion euros in 2023 (2019: 72 billion euros). Compared with 2022, it is expected to increase by 38 percent, one of the highest growth rates after Japan (69 percent), the UK, Italy and South Korea (43 percent each) and China (39 percent). The faster overall recovery is particularly attributable to the U.S., with U.S. companies now investing 305 billion euros in travel instead of 283 billion euros (2019). Read more.
- These are the best on the river: The providers of river cruises have recorded significant growth rates after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the German Travel Association (DRV), after the pandemic-related dry spell in 2020 and 2021, almost 650,000 travelers from Germany decided to take a cruise on the river last year. And this year, river tour operators are again expecting double-digit growth. Exact figures are not yet available, but at market leader Arosa, for example, things are going well: the provider is currently 32 percent up on last year in terms of passengers and sales. „This means we have clearly exceeded the figures for 2019,“ says Arosa CEO Jörg Eichler. „The industry will experience an all-time high in 2023.“ Reason enough for Touristik Aktuell to once again ask travel agents what they think of the quality of the suppliers. As was already the case for the ocean sector, the results for the river are available in the current cruise study. At first glance, the picture remains unchanged compared to the previous study in 2018: In the overall ranking, Arosa is ahead, followed by Nicko, Phoenix, Amadeus River Cruises and 1A Vista Reisen. Plantours and Viva Cruises were surveyed for the first time. Read more.
- Unesco honors new World Heritage sites: The 45th session of the UN cultural organization Unesco opened on Sunday evening in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. By September 25, the organization wants to award World Heritage status to more cultural and natural sites and must choose from more than 50 applications. Thuringia’s state capital Erfurt is also hoping for the award for its Jewish medieval heritage. The two-week meeting of the World Heritage Committee was opened by Saudi Culture Minister Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, according to the state news agency SPA. Read more.
- Award winner 2023: At the annual Cruise Guide Awards in Hamburg, the Silver Nova was honored in the „Sustainability“ category. Every year since 2008, an experienced jury of cruise journalists and travel experts has come together to nominate the best ships of the year. In the „Sustainability“ category, the Silver Nova won the Cruise Guide Award 2023. Read more.
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- Airlines continue to cancel more flights than before COVID. While passenger numbers are slowly approaching pre-COVID levels, the cancellation and delay rates of airlines are still higher than before the pandemic, according to the analysis by the flight rights portal Flightright. This summer, 0.98 percent of all European departures were canceled, compared to 0.74 percent in 2019. Especially high numbers of flight cancellations were attributed to Lufthansa City Line (3.11%), British Airways (2.92%), and Easyjet (2.43%), according to Flightright. Lufthansa also exceeded the average with 1.8 percent of canceled flights. Airlines such as TAP Portugal, Ryanair, and Austrian, on the other hand, achieved cancellation rates of less than one percent. Flightright considers approximately one percent of canceled flights to be the „normal average.“ Read more.
- Condor flies to Florida again: Vacation carrier Condor continues to ramp up its North American program next year, offering flights to Florida again next summer. Between May and September 2024, there will be three weekly flights from Frankfurt to Miami International Airport, the airline announced. Condor is also resuming long-standing services to Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta. The route will be flown twice a week. In addition, flight frequencies to two existing destinations will be increased next summer: Boston will then be served six times a week and Halifax four times. Read more.
- Condor cancels destination in Egypt: Vacation carrier Condor has to further reduce its winter flight schedule. Flights to Sphinx Airport in Egypt have now also been cancelled. This further thins out the airline’s flight offering to the Nile. Condor had originally planned to fly twice a week from Germany to Sphinx Airport in Egypt in the winter of 2023/24. Nothing will come of this. The vacation airline has removed the connection to Giza from its schedule. The flight route is expected to be resumed next summer, Condor announced on request. Read more.
- 1.3 million flight movements represent a 3% decrease compared to 2019. Swiss civil aviation, including scheduled and charter flights as well as general aviation, recorded a total of 1.3 million flight movements, which include take-offs and landings, in 2022. This marks a 13% increase compared to 2021 but a 3% decrease compared to 2019, the year before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of passengers reached approximately 44.2 million in 2022, representing a 119% increase compared to 2021 but a 25% decrease compared to 2019. In 2022, about 74% of flight movements were attributed to general aviation, primarily involving small aircraft. In contrast, scheduled and charter flights dominated passenger numbers, accounting for 99% (equivalent to 43.6 million passengers). Read more.
- Nonstop to Belgium: Singapore Airlines (SIA) will commence nonstop flights between Singapore and the Belgian capital, Brussels, starting April 5, 2024, marking their return to the city after more than 20 years. SIA will operate four weekly flights to Brussels using the long-range variant of their Airbus A350-900. The aircraft features 253 seats in a three-class configuration: 42 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy Class, and 187 in Economy Class. With the addition of Brussels, SIA’s European destinations now total 13, reaffirming the airline’s commitment to enhancing connectivity to this significant region. Tickets for SIA’s Brussels flights will be gradually available for sale through various distribution channels starting from September 13, 2023. Read more.
- Aircraft occupancy at Zurich Airport continues to rise. In August 2023, 2,921,620 passengers flew through Zurich Airport, marking an increase of 18% compared to the same period last year. Compared to August 2019, passenger numbers for the reporting month are up by 94%. The number of local passengers in August 2023 reached 2,027,409. The proportion of transfer passengers was 30%, which corresponds to 889,180 passengers. In comparison to the same month the previous year, the number of flight movements increased by 9% to 23,234 take-offs or landings. When compared to August 2019, flight movements reached 92% of that level. The average number of passengers per flight, at 142 passengers, was 5% higher than the previous year. The seat occupancy rate for the reporting month increased by 1 percentage point to 84% compared to the same month last year. Read more.
- Lufthansa: Start of City Airlines delayed. Lufthansa’s newly founded airline City Airlines, which is to be responsible for feeder traffic in the future, is not expected to launch until next year. This is reported by the online industry service Aerotelegraph and other media. The new airline was actually scheduled to get underway from Munich in late summer 2023 – another new development is that the services are also to serve the Frankfurt hub. Lufthansa has been planning the start-up for some time and already received an airline license (AOC) for it in the summer. A first aircraft, an Airbus A319, has also been ready since the end of July. The unions have accused Lufthansa of using the new airline to exert pressure and push down personnel costs. Read more.
- Vienna Airport – August 2023 almost at pre-crisis level. The airport announced that passenger numbers in August 2023 increased by 14.1% to 4,084,286 travelers in the group (Vienna Airport, Malta Airport and Kosice Airport) and by 12.1% to 3,103,842 travelers at the Vienna location compared to August of the previous year. As a result, the passenger volume in August 2023 is 100.4% of August 2019 in the Group and 98.5% at the Vienna location – and thus almost at the level of the year before the Corona pandemic in Vienna. Read more.
- Swiss expands North American services: Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss is expanding its route network in summer 2024. In addition to two new North American routes from Zurich, new European connections are also bookable. From Zurich, Swiss will serve two new long-haul destinations and two new European cities in the 2024 summer flight schedule. Overseas, Washington DC and the metropolis of Toronto in Canada will be added to the route network. In Europe, Swiss is adding Košice in Slovakia and Cluj-Napoca in Romania to its route network. Read more.
- Lufthansa announces three new USA routes: Lufthansa is expanding its route network from Frankfurt and Munich to the USA with three new connections for the summer of 2024. The airline will fly from Frankfurt to Minneapolis (Minnesota) and to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (North Carolina) – starting in the first week of June, five times a week throughout the year with a Boeing 787 („Dreamliner“). From Munich, there will be flights to Seattle next summer. The route will be served daily in the summer by an Airbus 350-900. In addition, Lufthansa will increase the number of flights to Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth from Frankfurt. Munich-San Diego will be expanded to daily flights and capacity will be more than doubled with an Airbus 350-900. Read more.
- Condor no longer flies year-round to the Maldives: Condor is adjusting its service to the Maldives in summer 2024. The route between Frankfurt and Malé will only be flown seasonally and will not be served between May 1, 2024 and September 13. After resumption on September 14, 2024, the airline plans to operate two weekly flights with Airbus A330-900 Neo for the remainder of the summer season, which runs until the end of October. Read more.
- Avianca expands fleet and ramps up flights in Colombia. Avianca’s 120-aircraft fleet has been expanded by 16 aircraft to provide more frequent service to in-demand domestic routes in Colombia. The Caribbean island of San Andres, Villavicencio, Riohacha and Leticia in the Amazon are getting significantly more flights, according to Avianca. San Andres, for example, will be served by Avianca from Bogota, Medellin and Cali with 53 instead of 30 flights per week. Read more.
- Morocco: After the devastating earthquake in Morocco, there was an aftershock on Sunday morning. The country was shaken by a new quake at around 9:00 a.m. local time, Nasser Jabour, head of a department at the National Institute of Geophysics, told the Moroccan news site Hespress. The U.S. Earthquake Survey (USGS) recorded a magnitude of 3.9, and the epicenter of the aftershock was about 80 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, similar to the first quake, according to Hespress. It is not known whether there were further victims as a result.
- Greece: The storms in Greece are over, but some parts of the country continue to suffer from the consequences of the floods. After it rained as much in one day in the central Greek region of Thessaly as it usually does in an entire year, devastating floods occurred. The region particularly affected is located south of Macedonia and includes, among others, the towns of Karditsa, Larisa, Portaria, Trikala and Volos, which are hardly frequented by tourists, the Pilion Mountains and the Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skropelos and Alonnisos. But also in some tourist regions in the Aegean and the Ionian Sea, such as on the vacation island of Corfu, the storm was noticeable. As a result, the Foreign Office has adjusted the travel advice for Greece and advises all travelers against trips to the flooded area. All those who are already on site are advised to always inform themselves about the risk situation and to pay attention to prohibitions, signs and instructions of local authorities. In addition, tap water should not be drunk in the affected regions, as it may be contaminated.
- USA: New media campaign for city breaks in the U.S. BBC StoryWorks, the award-winning branded content studio of BBC Studios, and the official destination marketing organization of the United States, Brand USA, have launched a new series of the multi-platform media campaign „USA Through Film.“ The sights, sounds and spirit of various U.S. cities are captured through the personal stories of well-known film and entertainment personalities – including Jane Krakowski, Common, Mary Steenburgen and Yaya DaCosta. Seven new branded content videos show spectacular backdrops and bring viewers closer to the culture and character of the different cities.
- Greenland: A luxury cruise ship with 206 people on board ran aground in a remote area in eastern Greenland. The crew was initially unable to maneuver the ship themselves, the Danish military’s Arctic Command announced Tuesday. The „Ocean Explorer“ has been lying in a fjord about 1400 kilometers northeast of the capital Nuuk since Monday, it added.
- Italy: Italy’s air traffic controllers go on strike on September 16. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., air traffic controllers at airports across the country plan to stop work on September 16. Delays and flight cancellations can also be expected before and after the official strike hours. In addition, a general strike has been announced for Italy’s transport sector on the 18th. According to the unions, this includes the metro, streetcars and buses in all major cities.
- USA: Continuing drought threatens the most important waterways in the USA. The Mississippi River is affected, as is the Colorado River, which flows through the Grand Canyon, among other places. If the rivers continue to dry out, not only tourism but also the supply of entire cities is at risk. On the Colorado River alone, the travel industry turns over nine billion dollars with boat trips, rafting and fishing.
- Turkey: So far, Turkey has always scored over other vacation destinations with low-priced offers. But these times are over. Inflation is driving up prices in the country. The long-standing paradise for budget-conscious travelers can now only advertise a limited price advantage in the battle for guests. As a result, tourism is weakening massively, and the number of guests is declining year on year.
- Venice: Venice decides admission for day visitors. In Venice, short-stay visitors will have to pay admission on certain days in the future. The municipal council of the Italian lagoon city decided on Tuesday evening to charge a fee of five euros from day tourists who stay for only a few hours. This does not apply to overnight guests. The regulation is to start in the spring as a test phase: in 2024, it will initially apply on 30 days on which experience shows that there is particularly much hustle and bustle. It is to be extended at a later date. The exact dates are not yet known.
- Libya: According to reports Wednesday (Sept. 13), more than 40,000 people have been displaced so far by flooding in Darna and other affected areas. It was reported that the first shipment of aid reached Darna on Tuesday. Disruptions to telephone and Internet services continue to be reported. Rescue workers continued to search for victims, reporting that the death toll from the floods has risen to about 6,000.
- China: Travel habits of Chinese tourists are changing. With the global tourism industry recovering from the pandemic, travelers are placing more emphasis on safety, according to Jane Sun, general manager of China’s largest online travel agency, Trip.com. Chinese tourists are now more willing to travel in smaller groups with families and close friends, rather than joining a group of 50 strangers, as was common before the pandemic outbreak, she said.
- Australia: A bushfire is threatening the town of Tennant Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory. Due to a lack of water, firefighting efforts are concentrated on establishing containment lines to the east and south of the town. A state of emergency has been declared both in the town and in the surrounding Barkly region. The small town of Tennant Creek is located between Darwin and Alice Springs and is considered the gateway to the Barkly Tablelands.
- Hawaii: A month ago, the worst forest and brush fires in the USA in more than 100 years raged in Hawaii. Many people are still missing. Some residents of the Hawaiian vacation island of Maui are currently dealing with trauma and mourning after the blaze, while others want to get back to the tourist routine quickly. Last Friday, hundreds of people on paddle boards in front of Ukumehame beach in West Maui commemorated the victims of the devastating fires.The tourism authority continues to strongly advise against travel to West Maui in the tourist areas north of Lahaina. As the German „Tagesschau“ reports, the hotels there are not accepting reservations. This is because these hotels along the coast are home to the people who have lost everything in Lahaina. They are shielded from the public to be able to mourn in peace.
- Costa Rica: Costa Rica warns of dengue fever. A massive outbreak of dengue fever has led to more than 8,000 infections in one week alone and a health warning issued by Costa Rica’s government in September. As a result, surveillance, treatment and prevention measures are being strengthened. Among other measures, mosquitoes that carry the tropical disease are being fumigated over large areas.
- Thailand: Plans to expand the international airport of Thailand’s vacation paradise Phuket are taking shape. The plan is to be able to handle around 18 million passengers per year in the future. Today, the airport has a capacity of around 12 million passengers. The costs are expected to amount to at least 6 billion baht (equivalent to around 150 million Swiss francs), as the „Bangkok Post“ writes. The airport operator considers the expansion urgently needed, as passenger numbers have been rising again since the end of the Corona pandemic. Phuket Airport is the third largest airport in Thailand after Bangkok’s two airports. The planned expansion is likely to be only an interim step. After all, 18 million passengers already flew through Phuket Airport in 2019. This year, it should be around 16 million, according to estimates by the airport director. He speaks of up to 50,000 passengers and 320 flights per day. This means that after the reconstruction, Phuket’s airport will already be too small again.
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