As far as one could tell—based on the trade and business news media coverage of this year’s ITB early last month—the outlook for the German tour and travel industry’s overseas outbound sector this year is one that is, at best, modestly hopeful. This was very much the same as it was last year and, if the forecasters at the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) are on target (and they usually are), it is very likely what it is going to be for the next several years, insofar as arrivals in the U.S. are concerned. A recap from NTTO’s most recent long-term forecast for inbound U.S. visitor traffic from Germany shows the following.
In Germany itself, as reported by the travel trade publication fvw, bookings of summer 2019 holidays in travel agencies and online grew by 1 percent this February compared to February 2018. The cumulative decline for all bookings since last November was reduced to -1 percent as a result, the market researcher GfK’s analysis of sales by 2,000 representative travel agencies, OTAs and tour operator websites showed. Other points noted from the GfK report:
—About one quarter of all bookings in February were for trips in May and June and a further quarter for July and August.
—However, the two peak summer holiday months are still in negative territory overall. Bookings for July are currently 1.9 percent behind last year while August is 1.6 percent lower than at the same time last year.
—The latest data should bring some relief to the tourism industry following three consecutive months of negative growth for summer 2019, including a 9 percent decline in January. However, it is still unclear whether the slight rise in February signals the start of a stronger recovery or just a brief respite.
Source: GfK Travel Insights
—Meanwhile, there were strong late bookings of winter holidays in February with a 7 percent increase that cancelled out a 6 percent decline drop in January. Growth for winter 2018/19 remained at 4 percent on a cumulative basis