Perhaps all that need be said about the condition of the German market, which is the largest overseas source market for inbound tourism to the USA in continental Europe, came this sentence in a brief article last Friday from Reuters: “German business morale crashed in April in its most dramatic fall on record, hitting the lowest reading since reunification as the coronavirus pandemic sends Europe’s largest economy into a deep recession.”
Bits and pieces of information emerge from the blanket coverage given the situation by the German travel trade press and German business news services that seem to try hard to find hope in the possibility that some kind of return to business as usual in several months, but the date seems to keep moving back as those major tour operators still active are already into selling their 2021 programs.
The ultimate signal that all was not well came on the evening of March 14 when TUI, the largest travel company in Europe, announced that it was suspending travel and tour activities indefinitely. Since then:
—TUI said it wouldn’t be offering holidays departing before May 14, 2020, but one suspects that this deadline could be pushed back.
—DER Touristik announced a week ago (April 22) that it was cancelling bookings for all of its six brands for departures up to May 15. Also, its different brands were already moving some parts of the winter program 2020/21 and its summer program for 2021.
—FTI had also cancelled all trips up to and including May 3rd.
—The Austrian tour operator ASI Reisen suspended all trips until May 17th.
Even so, more than a Quarter of Germans Still Want to Travel: At the same time in the news cycle, the Web 24 News cited a survey of Germans which reported the following:
—More than a third (35 percent) have put off their holiday this year, with 14 percent of those surveyed having already cancelled their vacation, and 21 percent having postponed planned bookings
—However, 28 percent still wanted to keep their travel plans.
—Another 31 percent did not plan to travel, or generally did not do so, the survey said.
—About 6 percent said they did not know, or said that they would always travel spontaneously.