While the latest monthly Travel Insights by the Nuremberg market research firm GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, or Society for Consumer Research) tells us that April generated the highest monthly growth for summer bookings so far this year, major German tour operators who attended last week’s IPW in Denver indicated that Visit USA business has been negative-to-flat, with a few optimistic
According to the German travel trade publication fvw, the Travel Insights reports that, overall, sales revenues for holidays between May and October 2018 were 15 percent ahead of the same period last year, and that 75 percent of summer 2017 revenues have already been realized.
At the same time, fvw’s interviews with German tour operators in Denver for IPW showed that the 2018 is proving to be a disappointing year—despite the fact that the Euro is about 4.5 percent higher against the U.S. dollar from the time of last year’s IPW in Washington, D.C. and this year’s event in Denver. The following come from fvw:
—At ITB Berlin in March, U.S. tourism officials were hopeful of an improvement in 2018, but the country is facing another difficult year on the German travel market, tour operators told fvw. Large tour operators and smaller specialists alike have varying sales trends for the country as a whole and for different regions, including lower bookings for Florida but good demand for California and Hawaii.
—DER Touristik has a double-digit drop in US bookings. “Unfortunately, it is a very difficult USA year. We have a double-digit drop compared to last year,” said Per Illian, product manager. “Florida is unfortunately doing worse than average. This is due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the loss of Air Berlin.”
—From TUI product manager Robin Brückner: “The bookings for North America cannot yet match the very strong previous year. However, we are optimistic that they will still rise. Local costs are favorable this year due to the very good exchange rate, which benefits touring guests and campervan holidaymakers above all.”
—Thomas Cook‘s Gerrit Seefeld: “Demand is somewhat reserved, and bookings have come in fairly late. Hawaii is very popular in summer and winter, and New York City and the national parks are stable. Florida is still subdued in summer, but has already recovered for winter 2018/19. Prices are quite stable compared to last year, as the US dollar is still quite strong and hotel prices have remained almost unchanged.”
—FTI product manager Fabio Negro: “The USA is well booked, depending on the destination, and we can report strong growth for the last four weeks … Hawaii and California are up, Las Vegas even in a high double-digit range. Florida still has some catching up to do due to hurricanes and the Air Berlin insolvency. Nevertheless, the demand for campers, rental cars and bikes is going very well.”
—Tilo Krause-Dünow, owner of Canusa Touristik: “The USA has recorded double-digit growth since January, meaning there is only a very slight single-digit year-on-year decline …Ski USA was weak, we’re starting to recover with Florida, Hawaii is strong, just like California, but we’re behind for Alaska.”
—Timo Kohlenberg, president and CEO of America Unlimited: “We have recorded a 5% increase in sales and are very positive about the destination’s development … The ‘Trump effect’ of early 2017 is no longer noticeable.”
—Pia Hambrock, product/marketing manager for CRD International:“The USA is recovering only slowly from a relatively weak year 2017, although the US dollar has weakened again somewhat so that travel to the USA is no longer quite as expensive. Our customers are still being negatively influenced by the political mood in the USA, an increasing isolation from international goals in climate and environmental protection, a protectionist economic policy and the goals of an ‘America First’ agenda.”