However, there are those Itching for “Something New” this Year: Many Germans consider themselves better off financially this year, which will help drive demand for holidays in general. This is the thrust of the message delivered at the just concluded CMT travel fair, which took place Jan. 13-21 in Stuttgart, by Dr. Martin Lohmann, managing director of the Kiel-based Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research in Northern Europe (NIT) and scientific advisor of the FUR (Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen), which is responsible for the comprehensive annual Reiseanalyse market survey, a sort of statistical bible on the German tour and travel industry (The survey is the result of interviews with of more than 7,500 Germans conducted in November.) As reported by the German travel trade publication, FVW, Lohmann made a number of points derived from preliminary Reiseanalyse results, which included the following:
—Nearly one German in four (24 percent) plans to travel more in 2018 vs. 2017, which is a slight increase on the 23 percent figure at the same time last year. Moreover, 30 percent (compared to 28 percent last year) want to spend more on travel and holidays in 2018. In contrast, only 13 percent want to travel less (the same figure as last year) and a similar 13 percent plan to spend less (down from 14 percent last year).
—“These results,” said Lohmann, “demonstrate a positive mood for holidays which signals good starting conditions for 2018,”
—The Reiseanalyse survey report showed that there was a “stable high level of demand” in Germany, with 69 million holidays (of 5 days or more) in 2017.
—The number of short private trips increased by 2.5 percent to 91 million last year.
—Overall spending on holidays went up by 2 percent to €69 billion ($84.5 billion) 2017, according initial Reiseanalyse results.
—The industry should not expect any major changes in destinations or types of holidays this year; with a 30 percent share, Germany remains the top holiday destination for Germans, ahead of Spain, Italy, Turkey, Austria, Greece and Croatia.
In the Mood for Something New (Long-Haul Trips, FITs?): Said Lohmann, “The constant overall picture should not hide the trend towards individual flexibility and the desire for something new.” As many as 42 percent of Germans plan to visit a completely new destination this year, with 17 percent considering a long-haul trip (compared to 15 percent last year). There is also more interest in city trips, wellness breaks and cruises.
Lohmann also noted that:
—A “stable” 22 percent of holidays will be booked as packages.
—A further 11 percent will be booked as a combination of individual elements.
—More travel components such as hotels or flights will be booked individually online.
—The number of survey respondents planning to book through a travel agent declined to 16 percent from 18 percent in the previous year.
The thrust of the Reiseanalyse report seems to comport with that of a report released earlier this month by the Nuremberg-based research organization GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, or Society for Consumer Research), which cited an improvement in business turnover of German tour operators in 2017 vs. 2016.