Whatever the cause—whether it was or is a strong U.S. dollar vs. the Euro; a disinclination to the travel to the USA because of a dislike of U.S. president Donald Trump; a severe disruption in holiday travel to traditional Mediterranean destinations due to terrorist; or a low birthrate that is shrinking the population of key travel age groups—visits to the United States from Germany have struggled to stay in place.
The above has pretty much turned into a generic description when one discusses or describes the German travel market, whether it involves overseas long-haul travel, travel within the Eurozone and its short-haul international destinations, or travel within Germany itself. The latest data for travel to the United States, even though it is just one measure of the health of the market, tend to confirm what seems to be happening in both wholesale and retail segments.
First, here is a look at German arrivals in the USA for the first six months of 2019, compared to the first six months of 2018. There is, essentially, no growth in that number, as the table below suggests.
Second, here are some points noted in the German travel trade publication FVW indicating that the retail sector of the industry more or less mirrors the performance of the tour operator sector—the latter being a more reliable indicator of long-haul travel than that serviced by travel agents. As reported by FVW,
—The German travel industry is staging a gradual recovery with more customers booking last-minute holidays in July–this according to the latest monthly Travel Insights sales analysis. *
—Bookings through travel agencies and online channels increased by 3 percent last month, meaning that summer 2019 revenues are now just one percent behind last year on a cumulative basis.
—July’s growth vs. the same period last year “was clearly driven by last-minute summer holiday bookings.” One third of all bookings last month were for departures in July and August. As a result, the cumulative decline in July departures was reduced to one percent and for August a half percent.
—The overall 2018/19 tourism year is now up by one percent in revenue terms—a number driven primarily last winter’s higher sales. Overall, the summer of 2018 was a very strong season with bookings up by 13 percent vs. the same time last year.
—However, early demand for the coming winter season looks weak so far, said FVW, noting that sales revenues for winter 2019/20 are 5 percent less, on a year-on-year basis, and bookings are down for nearly all departure months.
*The data in the Travel Insights survey are a result of an analysis of sales by 2,000 representative travel agencies, OTAs and tour operator websites by Travel Data + Analytics. Founded earlier this year, Travel Data + Analytics took over the Travel Insights survey from the market research firm GfK. Both companies are based in Nuremberg, Germany.