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
- MORE GUESTS, LESS REVENUE: In the first half of the summer, the tourism sector recorded a slight increase of 1% in the number of guests and 2% in overnight stays compared to the pre-pandemic period. However, real revenues remained 12% below 2019 levels, according to Wifo. Nevertheless, nominal revenues rose 14.5% between May and July 2023. For 2023 as a whole, however, results could fall short of expectations. Wifo stressed that despite the increase in arrivals and overnight stays, price-adjusted revenues had not yet reached pre-crisis levels. In addition, volume demand for 2023 is expected to be around 1.7% lower than in 2019. However, Wifo is optimistic that a snowy start to the winter could improve the situation. Read more
- PRICE INCREASE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL: Prices for business travel are not expected to rise as sharply as before in the coming years. According to the „Global Business Travel Forecast 2024“ published by the Business Travel Association GBTA, moderate increases averaging 2.3 percent in airfares and 1.8 percent in hotel prices are expected worldwide. In Germany, airfares are up in 2023 compared to 2022, driven by high demand, rising staff costs and increased airport charges. Companies are responding to increased costs by reducing business travel and cutting costs. This can be done by reducing the number of business trips, using less expensive modes of transportation such as trains or rental cars, choosing less expensive hotels, or increasing the use of virtual meetings. Another option is to reduce process costs through digitization. Despite the rise in prices, companies are trying to maintain business travel while cutting costs. Read more
- DESIRE AND EFFECTIVENESS IN COMPANIES FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL: Many companies recognize the importance of business travel, but see room for improvement in funding and executive support. According to a survey of 425 decision makers, 78 percent believe adequate funding is important, but only 33 percent say this is the case in their companies. It’s a similar story with executive-level support for travel management: 82 percent see it as important, but only 49 percent experience it in their companies. Still, respondents are aware of the benefits of business travel. 84 percent believe face-to-face meetings with customers or prospects bring business benefits. 88 percent believe face-to-face meetings are essential to creating positive relationships between colleagues in an era of mobile working. 81 percent believe that business travel promotes innovation. Read more
- HOTELS IN BETTER PRICE THAN AIRBNB: According to an analysis by the British consumer group „Which?“, hotel accommodation is now cheaper on average than Airbnb accommodation. The analysis compared the cost of thousands of hotel rooms with 300,000 listings of one-bed rooms on accommodation portals such as Airbnb and Vrbo. It found that a hotel night costs an average of 117 euros, compared with 139 euros on Airbnb and Vrbo. In cities like Amsterdam, listings on rental platforms are on average 58 percent more expensive than hotels. This refutes the common assumption that Airbnb and similar platforms are cheaper than hotels. The recommendation is therefore not to automatically assume that hotels are more expensive when planning a trip, but to compare prices on different platforms. However, for larger groups that need more rooms and space, private rentals could still be cheaper than hotels. Read more
- RESONANCE TOURISM – NEW ASPECTS IN TRAVEL: A study by the German Future Institute has found that people are increasingly looking for „resonance,“ especially in relation to travel. In psychology, „resonance“ stands for a deep emotional or intellectual connection between people. Today’s travelers are no longer just looking for typical tourist attractions, but want real, authentic experiences that leave a lasting impression. The desire for direct contact and relationship with people and places is paramount. Although services, culture and weather remain important factors in tourism, the lifestyle experience conveyed is crucial. The study emphasizes that the tourism industry should put the focus back on human values and needs and strive for a new quality of tourism. Read more
- GERMANS CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR HOLIDAYS ABROAD: According to the Changing Traveller Report 2023, for which Siteminder surveyed more than 10,000 people from twelve countries, 90% of German citizens plan to travel just as often next year as this year, with 37% even wanting to travel more. The inclination to travel exclusively abroad has risen from 32% to 55%. Despite rising prices, Germans are willing to cut back on their travel, for example by choosing cheaper rooms or cutting out extras. Expectations of accommodations have changed, with a great experience and enough space for family and friends taking center stage. Interest in combining vacation and work has dropped from 29% to 21%. Despite staff shortages, two-thirds of travelers would accept a lower standard of service in hotels. More than half would use artificial intelligence to create ratings for accommodations, while only 23% in Germany would be willing to do so. Although two-thirds of German vacationers book online, more than one-third have already canceled bookings due to bad experiences. Insecure websites and complicated processes are the main reasons. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- MORE PEOPLE FLY HERE THAN BEFORE CORONA: The summer of 2023 saw numerous flight delays and cancellations, especially in European air travel, due to staff shortages, forest fires and freak weather. According to an analysis by Forward Keys, global flight bookings were still 23 percent below pre-pandemic levels. Still, there was a 31 percent year-over-year increase in flight bookings, indicating a recovery. The U.S. led the way in both destinations and source countries in the summer of 2023. Recovery in the U.S. is nearly at pre-pandemic levels, while there is still a gap in countries such as Germany, the U.K. and France. Asian markets, particularly China and Japan, continue to be hit hard. Countries known for beach vacations, such as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, saw an increase in flight bookings compared to 2019. Europe was underrepresented in this ranking, with only Greece seeing a significant increase. Despite the forest fires and high temperatures in Greece and Portugal, tourism was only affected to a limited extent. Bookings for Northern Europe were behind 2019 levels, but recovered in the last-minute market, likely due to a heat wave. Read more
- POLICY AND AIRLINES OPTIMISTIC FOR CLIMATE NEUTRALITY: In Germany the aviation industry and politicians are optimistic despite ongoing climate problems. At the National Aviation Conference in Hamburg, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045, while stressing the importance of developing climate-friendly technologies in the aviation industry. The prospect of hydrogen power in production aircraft was also discussed. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr emphasized the recovery of aviation after the Corona pandemic and the low share of synthetic fuels at Lufthansa. He also advocated global solutions in climate protection and called for a reform of the aviation tax. German Transport Minister Volker Wissing and Economics Minister Robert Habeck stressed the need for climate-neutral air travel and the role of climate protection technologies. Environmentalists demonstrated outside the conference and called for a reduction in air traffic movements in Germany. Read more
- LUFTHANSA CREATES MORE SPACE FOR HANDBAGS: Lufthansa has ambitious plans to modernize its aircraft cabins on short- and medium-haul jets. A total of 38 Airbus 320s are to be fitted with new cabin interiors by spring 2025. A key element of this revamp is the expanded overhead bins, which can now hold up to eight small suitcases on edge, as opposed to the previous four. This represents an impressive 40% expansion and is expected to significantly speed up the process of boarding and disembarking. But that’s not all: passengers can look forward to USB ports for charging their mobile devices and special holders for tablets and smartphones that make it easier to watch movies and series during the flight. The upgrade is rounded off by the new, ergonomically shaped seats from the Italian company Geven, which offer more legroom despite the seat pitch remaining the same. Read more
- ABU DHABI: „A winter to dream about“ is the name of the new campaign with which the emirate wants to boost tourism. According to the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, the focus is on „unforgettable experiences“ for culture and sports fans, gourmets, adrenaline junkies and music lovers. Among others, Formula 1 and the NBA basketball league will be guests and Robbie Williams will give several concerts.
- AUSTRIA: Next year, Austria will introduce an additional vignette category for passenger cars, namely the one-day vignette, which costs 8.60 euros. The ten-day vignette will also be offered, but at a price of 11.50 euros, which is only minimally more than the one-day vignette. The annual vignette remains unchanged at 96.40 euros, while the two-month vignette is reduced slightly from 29 to 28.90 euros. The A14 between Hörbranz and Hohenems, which is used by many Swiss travelers as a transit route and was previously free of vignettes, remains a relief for certain towns in the region.
- CROATIA: Croatia is experiencing a boom in tourism and is expected to exceed 2019 figures in 2023. One reason is Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area and the introduction of the euro as its currency. This has made travel easier and boosted weekend tourism. Tourism contributes significantly to Croatia’s GDP. The euro has improved market transparency, and Schengen has provided a significant advantage, with the majority of tourists coming from the Schengen area and the euro zone. But with growth came challenges. There have been complaints about rising prices, although this is partly due to global inflation. There are also growing environmental problems from mass tourism, especially in the Istria region. Environmentalists criticize the loss of biodiversity and other negative effects of tourism.
- CUBA: Since 2018, Cuba has experienced a drastic decline in tourist numbers. In August 2023, only 177,306 tourists visited the island, compared to about 300,000 in August 2017. Despite a slight increase compared to 2022, Cuba lags significantly behind in international tourism. Spain and Mexico, for example, recorded 10.1 million and 13.5 million tourists, respectively, during the same period. Most tourists to Cuba came from Canada, followed by Cubans living abroad and U.S. residents. Russian tourists have increased, while European tourists have decreased. Projections indicate that Cuba may reach only 2.3 million visitors by the end of 2023.
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: The Dominican Republic is experiencing remarkable tourism growth. Seven million people visited the country in the first three quarters of 2023, a 25% increase over 2022. August was the strongest month in the country’s tourism history, with over 782,000 visitors. By year’s end, 10 million visitors could be reached, which would represent a balanced ratio of tourists to residents. Analysis firm Forward Keys predicts the Dominican Republic will have the highest tourism growth in the Americas post-pandemic. Mainly, visitors come from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Colombia. The cruise segment is also growing, with more than 1.5 million people arriving through the country’s ports. Dominican Tourism Minister David Collado emphasizes the country’s attractiveness as a destination, especially its safety and hospitality. Post-pandemic, tourism has re-established itself as a mainstay of the Dominican economy, and the sector is expected to contribute a significant share of jobs and the country’s GDP by the end of 2023.
- FRANCE: The 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris will be held outside traditional sporting venues to involve locals more and appeal to a wider international audience. This presents opportunities for the Atout France tourism board. The Games will use innovative venues, such as the Seine River for the opening ceremony, and should create memorable images. Inclusive approaches such as the Olympic marathon for amateur runners will win the sympathies of residents and visitors. The event offers the opportunity to raise the profile of France and extend the length of stay. The Games emphasize sustainability and minimal new construction. There is an opportunity for joint tourism marketing and a bid by Berlin for the 2036 Olympics. Overall, the 2024 Games in Paris offer a unique opportunity to combine sport, tourism and sustainability.
- ESTONIA: Estonia’s tourism sector is beginning to rebound from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. However, rising costs are impacting the country’s competitiveness in the tourism industry. The entire economy’s price surge has negatively affected tourism, leading to a significant drop in group tourism. Recent data indicates that tourism levels in June were the same as they were four years prior. The demographics of tourists have shifted, with an increase in visitors from Latvia, Ukraine, and Poland, while the numbers of Russian tourists have fallen. Additionally, there has been a significant decline in tourists from Finland, Germany, and Sweden.
- GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS: Bird flu has been confirmed in the Galápagos Islands after sick birds were discovered. Three cases of the H5N1 virus have been detected. Authorities are conducting investigations on the islands and advising visitors to stay away from the sick animals. The Galápagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are known for their unique wildlife and flora. Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in the Pacific Coast region of South America since early 2023, killing thousands of animals, including birds and sea lions.
- INDIA: India wants to significantly strengthen its tourism industry and has announced significant investments in infrastructure to this end. It was the first country to use the G20 summit in New Delhi to organize a meeting of tourism ministers. The Indian Consul General, Soumya Gupta, emphasized the growing importance of tourism for the country’s economy and SMEs. Sustainability plays an important role in this. In terms of infrastructure, India is opening a new airport every month with 80 more planned. Indian airlines Air India and Indigo have also placed major orders with Airbus. India focuses on both domestic tourism and high-end tourism for foreign visitors, showcasing offerings such as luxury trains and special travel packages.
- ITALY: Severe fires have broken out on the northern coast of Sicily, affecting many areas, including popular tourist destinations. The flames were fanned by the sirocco, a hot wind from the Sahara. The fire is believed to have started in the mountains near Gibilmanna and has spread to areas already affected by fires during the summer. Particularly affected is the region around the coastal town of Cefalù, where two hotels were evacuated and about 300 people sought refuge on the beach before being evacuated by boat. There are already reports of damage and power outages in certain areas. Emergency forces, including several planes and helicopters, are on the scene, but strong winds are hampering firefighting efforts.
- NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government plans to introduce a new air tax for transit passengers. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of Europe’s largest aviation hubs, saw more than 52 million passengers last year, with up to 64 million expected this year. About 40% of these passengers only transfer in Amsterdam. In the future, airfare could increase for this group, as they are also expected to pay air taxes, not just passengers departing from the Netherlands. A return ticket via Schiphol could become more expensive by over 50 euros. The final decision on this tax will be made in the coming weeks. The expected revenue of over 200 million euros per year is to help reduce the energy tax for households.
- NEW ZEALAND: A state of emergency has been declared in Queenstown, New Zealand, due to severe flooding following extreme rainfall. As much rain fell in one day as would normally fall in an entire month, representing the heaviest rainfall in more than two decades. The resulting floods led to flooded roads, damaged buildings and landslides. About 100 people had to be evacuated, and several schools were closed. A state of emergency was also declared in the neighboring Southland region on the South Island.
- SAUDI-ARABIA: On September 21, Red Sea Global’s (RSG) first regular passenger aircraft landed at Red Sea International Airport (RSI). The Saudia airline now offers direct flights from Riyadh to the Red Sea twice a week, with a flight time of less than two hours. Red Sea Global CEO John Pagano stressed the importance of this move for tourism and putting Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map. RSI, which is an eight-hour flight from 85% of the world’s population, will begin offering international flights in 2024. The Red Sea is developing rapidly, with three hotels opening soon. By 2030, the area will include 50 resorts, over 8000 hotel rooms, and numerous recreational facilities.
- SINGAPORE: The Changi Airport plans to introduce automated immigration processing from 2024, which will eliminate the need for traditional travel documents such as boarding passes and passports. This will be made possible through the use of biometric technology and facial recognition software that will identify passengers at various stations around the airport. Singapore will thus be one of the first countries to introduce such automated, passport-free immigration control. Although some of this technology is already in use at Changi, the expansion means passengers will not have to show their documents all the time. However, it is noted that passports are still required for many countries outside Singapore. With this innovation, Changi Airport, one of the busiest and best airports in the world, is aiming for faster and smoother check-in.
- SPAIN: Off the coasts of Spain, especially in Catalonia, the population of a special kind of jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) has greatly increased, causing anxiety among tourists. These jellyfish look like fried eggs and are currently floating mainly near the beach. Despite their impressive appearance, they are harmless. They are seen especially in the seaside resort of Sitges near Barcelona during the still warm days, as the water there is currently 23 degrees. An increase in water temperatures has also been cited as the cause of an increase in this type of jellyfish off the coast of Mallorca.
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING?
Alright, bookworms and wanderlusters, fasten your literary seatbelts!
Autumn is rustling its pages, beckoning the bookish among us to exotic reading havens worldwide. Picture this: lounging in the Juffing Hotel & Spa, surrounded by walls narrating tales, with rooms whispering author secrets. Or, if you’re a beer-loving bibliophile, the B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa in Zurich merges best of both worlds—imagine sipping a brew amid stacks of books in an old brewery! On the budget side, the Book and Bed hostels in Japan are practically saying: „Why just read about adventures when you can sleep inside one?“ Meanwhile, Germany’s putting itself on the map for all the right reasons. The Schloss Elmau, Hotel Wedina in Hamburg, and Gutshotel Gross Breesen (Germany’s self-proclaimed first book hotel) are vying for the attention of literature buffs.
Switching gears to the high-flying world of airline etiquette (or the lack thereof!). A quirky survey by Kayak spilled the beans on in-flight faux pas. Rudeness to cabin crew? A whopping 85% gave it a big thumbs down! Personal grooming galore, from shoe shedding to impromptu nail salons, and folks are clearly divided. As for the recline wars, 45% believe in the golden rule: „Ask before you lean.“ And window shades? It’s a territorial game between rowmates and window-hoggers.
Now, from quirky to downright baffling—Australia’s puzzling the masses. Everyone’s been Googling Agnes Bluff, this mysterious location from „The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.“ Spoiler alert: it’s as real as unicorns and leprechauns! It’s fiction turned Amazon Prime series that’s got fans and tourists chasing a mirage Down Under.
So, whether you’re diving deep into a literary getaway, navigating the uncanny aisles of airplanes, or hunting for imaginary places (bring a map!), life’s throwing quite the plot twists. Keep those pages turning and spirits high!
Discover and enjoy our engaging newsletter! Don’t forget to share it with your colleagues to receive our weekly market update together.
If you have any questions or need guidance on market strategies, we’re here to help. Connect with us and let’s excel in the dynamic world of travel. Stay informed, stay connected.
Let’s make waves!