It very well could be that the German travel trade is about to experience a second consecutive “lost year of growth”—the term that the Nuremberg-based marketing research firm GfK used last October to describe the business year for the tour and travel industry in the country.
The same analysis aptly describes the Visit USA market for Germany’s international travelers. Arrivals from Germany to the United States dropped 10 percent in 2016 vs. 2015. And for the first four months of 2017, there are down 1.4 percent vs. 2017. That figure would likely be larger were it not for a robust April, which benefited from Easter (it was on April 16) traffic this year.
In its latest monthly report, GfK, as reported by the trade publication FVW, pointed out the following:
—German travel agents had another disappointing month in August with an overall 3 percent drop-off in sales due to weak last-minute summer holiday bookings.
—The weak August sales followed after a 5 percent decline in July, and leave cumulative bookings for the summer of 2017 just 1.5 percent ahead of last year.
—As a result, overall travel agency sales for 2016/17 are likely to finish lower than last year due to a 3 percent decline in winter 2016/17 turnover.
—Bookings for summer 2017 fell by 8 percent in August compared to August 2016, indicating weak last-minute summer holiday bookings.
—In contrast, early bookings for summer 2018 are looking better with a 2.8 percent increase compared to the same period last year; they accounted for 13 percent of total sales in August.
—Bookings for the coming winter season fell by 4 percent after strong early sales in the last two months. The winter season is now 4 percent ahead of the same period last year overall, and sales have reached about 40 percent of last year’s total sales volumes.
—With Easter in March in 2018; so far, the month is up by 18.8 percent while April is currently down by 27.5 percent.
(GfK uses a representative sales analysis of 1,500 agencies as the basis for its findings.)