Tucked away near the end of a report on the results of the just-released 33rd annual Tourism Analysis by the Hamburg-based research organization Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen (Foundation for Future Studies) is a finding that tells the reader that outbound long-haul travel last year by Germans remained essentially at the same level as it was in 2015, with 11 percent of the country’s travelers making the long-haul experience their principal holiday. And North America, was the long-haul holiday destination of choice for 3.1 percent of German holidaymakers.
Of equal, if not greater, importance to the German travel trade is the slightly optimistic outlook the Tourism Analysis had for overall leisure travel this year. Dr. Ulrich Reinhardt, the head researcher at the institute, said that positive factors such as the stable economy, low unemployment, the strong euro (relative to currencies other than the U.S. dollar) and low interest rates help to account for the fact that travel intentions are higher than they were last year, as 44 percent of Germans already actively planning their holiday compared to 42 percent at the same time last year.
Other highlights from the Tourism Analysis—it was based on a representative survey of 4,000 consumers which was conducted in December and January—include the following:
- Germans traveled more and longer, and also spent more on their holidays in 2016.
- Fewer holidays in Spain and Turkey and more in Germany and Austria instead were the key destination trends last year
- Overall, 57 percent of Germans went on a main holiday of at least five days last year compared to 54 percent in 2015, while more than one in three travelers undertook two or more trips.
- The average number of days spent on holiday increased to 12.9 days from 12.6 in 2015 and a low of 12.1 days in 2014.
- Average total holiday spending per person increased to €1,166 ($1,241) from €1,109 ($1,180) in 2015
- The home country, Germany, remained by far the most popular holiday destination last year, with a two percentage point increase to 34.2 percent of all main holidays.
- Spain remained the dominant foreign holiday destination last year with 14.1 percent of all main holidays, even though this number was a fractional 0.1 percentage point decline.
- Italy dropped to 7.9 percent in 2016 from 8.8 percent in 2015.
- Turkey, beset by several episodes of terrorist activity within its borders, fell 1.6 percentage points to 4.4 percent.
- Austria proved popular, improving by 0.6 percentage points to 4.4 percent, while there was also growth for Croatia and Scandinavia, the survey showed.