Following month-to-month reports during 2015 in which the travel trade showed steady, single-digit increase in sales volume, the numbers took a dive in December; in what the German travel trade publication, FVW, described as “a dramatic 8 percent decline,” booking figures dropped in the last month of 2015, according to data provided by the Nuremberg-based market research firm GfK. The new numbers, said FVW, confirmed other recent trend data.
The publication seemed to tie the decline to a drop in demand that following the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and injured another 368. Whatever impact the attacks had, one of the net results was this: The 8 percent decline in December means that overall cumulated sales for the upcoming summer of 2016 (it made up 65 percent of total sales last month) are now down by 6 percent compared to one year earlier.
In financial terms, German travel agencies had an €83 million ($89 million) “gap” in revenues compared to December 2014.
Suffering the greatest impact were bookings for package holidays, according to GfK’s monthly survey of German travel agents. Bookings slumped for Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Tunisia.
The strongest drop in bookings in December was for holidays in August—down 19 percent down on the strong previous year—which is the peak traveling month when most German federal states have school summer holidays. October showed a 14 percent, while July and June were relatively stable.
The slump also affected winter (of 2015/16) holiday bookings, which fell by 8 percent vs. December 2014. The cumulative growth rate for winter 2015/16 fell back to 4.1 percent from 5.8 percent in November.
Said Dorte Nordbeck, Gfk’s head of Travel & Logistics Germany: “Despite the current wait-and-see behavior of German consumers, the consumption climate and economic conditions in Germany point to an optimistic underlying situation.” The monthly GfK Travel Insights representative survey analyzes some 340,000 bookings made at 1,200 travel agencies.