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
- Winter bookings lag behind expectations: Short-term vacation travel bookings for the peak vacation season in July and August dominated travel distribution business in the booking month of July, according to the latest Travel Data + Analytics (TDA) survey. Overall, booking volumes in July leveled off at pre-Corona 2019 levels, it said. The numbers are less rosy for the coming winter. Bookings are also visibly picking up for the fall vacations, TDA said. The summer balance at the current booking level thus remained at the level of the previous month (-7%). According to the survey, German citizens booked vacation trips for around 1.2 billion euros in July 2022. Although the booking volume could not keep up with the previous month (-27%), it remained at a good level comparable with 2019. At 41 percent of monthly booking revenue for July/August departures, the share of short-term vacation travel bookings remains exceptionally high in July 2022, he said. Bookings are now visibly picking up for the fall months of September and October: A sales share of 34 percent corresponds to an increase of nine percentage points compared to the previous month. For the upcoming winter season 2022/23, however, the advance booking volume achieved so far is only below average with a minus of 35 percent. Although last year’s 2021/22 season will be significantly exceeded at the current booking level, a year ago the spreading delta variant and increasing travel restrictions would have prevented longer-term vacation planning. Read more
- Almost all Germans want to travel in 2023: Travel provider Tourlane has launched a survey with Yougov to find out Germans‘ travel trends for 2023. This revealed a great desire to travel, with 92 percent stating that they intend to travel in the coming year. The pandemic continues to influence travel behavior. According to the survey, flexibility and security are at the top of most respondents‘ list when choosing a tour operator. About 40 percent of respondents are opting for flexible booking terms due to the pandemic, according to the survey. However, the majority (78%) have not yet booked a trip for 2023. A trip to nature (54%) or to the beaches of Europe (22%) is most attractive to most. Germany is also very much in demand again as a travel destination, along with France and Italy. The clearest difference between age groups, he said, is in travel habits since the pandemic. Sustainable travel and a good Internet connection are almost twice as important to respondents aged 18 to 24 as to other age groups. Read more
- The minus compared to the pre-crisis year is getting bigger: In early summer, the tour operators and also the cruise lines showered themselves with positive news. „Significantly above the pre-crisis year 2019“ were the reports in terms of incoming bookings. But as the summer draws to a close, disillusionment sets in. By no means all vacationers have booked to the same extent as in 2019, and if they have, then at short notice. The sales analysis of the Tats-Reisebüro-Spiegel from August clearly shows this. In August, the affiliated travel agencies were able to invoice a total of 110 percent more than in August of the previous year, but ten percent less than in 2019. In tourism, the development is even worse: 80 percent sales are above 2021, twelve percent below 2019. And according to Tats-Reisebüro-Spiegel, a recovery in the fall is also not yet in sight. Compared to the – weak – previous year, the tourism order backlog by travel date up to October is indeed clearly in the plus. But measured against 2019, it lags behind by around 42 percent. Read more
- Vacation is not on the cancellation list: According to data from a recent „Travel Trends“ study by strategy consultants Simon-Kucher & Partners, more than half of consumers have spent more money on leisure travel this year. The latest survey results show that more than half (56 percent) of respondents in Germany consider a vacation trip to be something special, compared to 41 percent last year. In addition, more than half of respondents (57 percent) spent more money on planned leisure trips this summer. Just under a third of respondents in Germany did not go on vacation this summer. One in three of these cited financial reasons for this. As the survey also shows, consumers expect prices to rise further and will adjust their spending. Accordingly, they will increasingly spend more money on groceries (54 percent) and vacations (49 percent). Early booking is appreciated by respondents, who are primarily interested in securing a preferred offer (44 percent), while for 25 percent it is important to benefit from discounts and other advantages. 38 percent are interested in flexibility in booking and cancellation terms. Almost a third signal their willingness to pay more for an ecologically sustainable vacation. Read more
- Tourism suffered less from forest fires: Looking back on an ambivalent tourism season: Despite severe drought and extreme temperatures, the occurrence of very large forest fires was rather an exception this year compared to the recent past. Accordingly, the impact on travelers was lower. At the same time, the total number of fires and wildfires was record high, according to crisis experts A3M. In the summers of 2020 and 2021, there had been fires in Greece and Turkey that could hardly be brought under control for days and weeks. In 2022, these countries escaped relatively unscathed. France, Spain and Portugal were affected much more frequently this summer. „The 2022 fire season presented a markedly different picture than in previous years,“ said Samed Kizgin, Head of Travel Security Analyst Team at A3M. „While numerous fires continued to make headlines, despite the tremendous heat and drought, protracted fires as in previous years were surprisingly absent. Of course, this doesn’t change the threat posed by rapid climate change.“ Read more
- Associations call for EU-wide CO₂ standard: In order to measure and compare carbon dioxide emissions from business travel, a common calculation basis is needed across Europe, says the BT4 Europe network. This would then be the basis for compensation payments. Rail alternatives across borders in all booking and reservation systems, mandatory information on CO₂ emissions from service providers, and a common standard for the basis for calculating emissions: This is what Europe’s business travel associations are demanding from the European Union (EU) in a joint paper. The total of 13 associations that have joined forces in the „BT4 Europe“ network have now adopted the joint position paper on sustainability in the business travel industry. The German Travel Management Association (VDR) is also a member of BT4 Europe. BT4 Europe considers it important that, along with the availability of CO₂ data, a uniform EU-wide method of calculating CO₂ emissions is also adopted so that the data can be compared in a serious manner. Such methods would have to exist for areas such as air, rail, hotel and road transport. Read more
Current topics within the transportation industry in Germany & Europe
- Emirates records over 10 million passengers in the summer: Emirates draws a successful balance of the summer business: Although the capacities are still 26% below the figures of the economically strong year 2019, the demand for travel is increasing again, so that Emirates is continuously increasing its flight offer. As a result, the carrier is already operating 74% of its pre-pandemic route network and capacity again, he said. The airline plans to increase this to 80% by the end of the year. The airline will also begin a $2 billion retrofit program in November to equip 120 jets with the latest in-flight products. Emirates has increased its flight offerings to meet increased demand. For example, the airline has resumed daily scheduled service to London Stansted. It also increased flight frequencies to 33 popular destinations in Europe, Asia the Middle East and vacation destinations such as the Seychelles, Maldives, Mexico and Miami. In June, Emirates added Tel Aviv to its global route network, and in July, a third daily London Gatwick flight was added for travelers affected by capacity cuts at Heathrow. It also reopened 32 of its exclusive airport lounges, including 25 Emirates lounges at major airports. In addition, Emirates reintroduced its complimentary chauffeur service to the airport for First and Business Class passengers in almost all cities served. Read more
- Lufthansa and pilots reach agreement: At the last minute, AUA parent Lufthansa and its pilots averted another strike and reached a solution to the wage dispute, as confirmed by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots‘ union. A comprehensive package had been agreed and was awaiting finalization in the coming days. Important first steps have been taken toward sustainable cooperation. VC changed its earlier demand for automated inflation compensation and now called for an annual pay increase of 8.2% starting in 2023 – in addition to a 5.5% increase this year. Lufthansa offered across-the-board increases in base pay of EUR500 effective Sept. 1, 2022, and by EUR400 effective April 1, 2023. This would result in increases of between 5 and 18%, depending on previous pay. According to Lufthansa, the VC’s combined demands before the change amounted to about EUR 900 million in additional costs over two years. Cockpit personnel costs would thus increase by 40%. Even without taking into account the financial consequences of the Corona crisis, this is beyond the bounds of what is justifiable. Read more
- Rains save river cruises: In recent months, low water levels have caused some river cruise companies to cancel or reroute their trips. Scenic, Emerald, Avalon Waterways, Amadeus River Cruises, Uniworld and Viking had to cancel or change cruises during the summer season. The changes included guests having to change ships and use motorcoaches and rail services to complete interrupted itineraries. But recent rains have meant that the Rhine and Danube rivers, for example, which were particularly hard hit by low water levels, have recovered once again. „The rains that occurred in Europe last week have improved water levels, and as a result, Avalon Waterways‘ cruises are operating normally,“ Travel Weekly quotes Steve Born, chief marketing officer for the Globus family of brands. Read more
- Antigua: Antigua and Barbuda is now open to all travelers, vaccinated and unvaccinated. The government eliminated all Covid-19 entry protocols, effective Aug. 29. No longer required are the Covid pre-arrival test, proof of vaccination, travel authorization form and quarantine upon arrival.
- Fiji: Fiji abolishes mandatory Covid 19 testing upon entry with immediate effect. However, only fully vaccinated persons are allowed to enter the country until further notice.
- Mallorca: In July, each tourist on the Balearic Islands spent an average of EUR 1234. This is about the same as in July 2019, writes the „Mallorca Zeitung“. The statistics office INE published last week the figures up to and including July based on a survey by Egatur. In total, holidaymakers spent EUR 2.8 billion on the Balearic Islands in July this year. This was 3% less than in 2019, but spending per tourist per day increased by 10%. So guests spent the same amount of money in fewer days. This statistic, he said, is new evidence that tourism has fully recovered after Corona in the Balearic Islands, which was already evident in the record number of visitors. Meanwhile, tourist spending throughout the year to date has actually exceeded pre-Corona levels. In the first seven months of 2022, tourists left 4% more money in the Balearic Islands than in 2019, totaling EUR 8.6 billion.
- Portugal: The number of foreign tourists in Portugal in July for the first time exceeded the level reached before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. More than 1.8 million foreigners spent the night in Portuguese hotels in July, as the statistics office reported in Lisbon, according to „srf.ch“. That was around 600,000 more than a year ago and also slightly more than the 1.78 million in July 2019. Spaniards, Britons and US Americans in particular flocked to the country. Tourism is hugely important for Portugal: it accounted for almost 15% of gross domestic product before the pandemic broke out and paralyzed global travel.
- Qatar: For travelers to Qatar, it is now sufficient to present a negative PCR test, which must be no more than 48 hours old at the time of departure. Alternatively, a rapid antigen test performed by trained personnel is possible, which must be no more than 24 hours old at the time of departure. Self-administered tests will not be accepted. Within three days before arrival in Qatar, a so-called pre-registration is also mandatory.
- Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia wants to significantly expand its tourism business in the coming years. This requires not only extensive investment in infrastructure but also easier entry rules. The Wahhabi kingdom is now creating these. Residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States no longer need to apply for a visa before visiting Saudi Arabia. In the future, a visa on arrival will apply, according to the Saudi Tourism Authority. For guests from neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, there is also a new electronic tourist visa (e-visa). A passport valid for at least six months is required to obtain a visa on arrival. The cost of the visa is currently 300 Saudi rial (approx. 80.50 euros)
- St. Lucia: In the future, vaccinated and unvaccinated persons will only have to fill out one form when entering St. Lucia. All other entry requirements have been lifted.
- Singapore: After a three-year forced break due to Corona, TUI Cruises is returning to Asia. Mein Schiff 5 will depart on December 7 for the first of six 14-day voyages. TUI Cruises is thus one of the first shipping companies to offer the cruising area again, the shipping company says. Starting point of the six journeys is Singapore in each case. Guests spend a complete day in the metropolis before departure. After a sea day, Mein Schiff 5 heads for Port Klang, Malaysia’s largest port near the capital Kuala Lumpur.
- Spain: Compared to the largest source market for travelers to Spain, the United Kingdom, from which just under 8.4 million tourists arrived, the shortfall from the German market compared to 2019 was thus two percentage points lower, according to official statistics. From the United States, just over 1.5 million visitors traveled to Spain; 23 percent less than before Corona. From the Nordic countries came just under 2.5 million, a good quarter less than three years ago. Among the Spanish destinations, the Balearic Islands came closest to the pre-crisis level with a drop of a good five percent; the Canary Islands were down by around eleven percent. Catalonia (-29%), Madrid (-26%) and Andalusia (-21%) were hit harder.
- South Korea: Effective Sept. 3, 2022, South Korean entrants will no longer be required to provide evidence of negative PCR or antigen testing. However, the PCR testing requirement upon arrival will remain.
- Taiwan: As of September 12, 2022, Taiwan will lift the visa requirement introduced at Corona. The visa waiver applies to nationals of European countries, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.
- Thailand: Thailand wants to enable vacationers to stay longer in the country during the peak winter season and is extending the possible length of stay to do so. Travelers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and another 48 countries can now stay in Thailand for 45 days in the period between October 1 and March 31, 15 days longer than before. For vacationers who enter with a „visa on arrival“, the possible stay is extended from 15 to 30 days.
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