The past couple of weeks have continued the battering the tourism industry in Germany, as a business report on business travel had numbers that were worse than they’ve ever been and, as for the retail sector, about the best that can be said is that year-on-year sales decreases are not as bad as they could have been.
And then, there was an indirect judgment on the condition of the largest EU country market for overseas traffic to the USA came last week in Hanover, Germany when it was announced TUI—Europe’s largest tour operator—had named a new chief executive for its flagship unit, TUI Germany. Stefan Baumert is taking on the responsibility for the company’s tour operator business in Central Europe, which includes the country markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
Baumert succeeds Marek Andryszak, who is leaving TUI, at his own request, at the end of the current financial year on September 30. Andryszak was a 15-year veteran of the TUI Germany, having joined the company in 2006 as vice president of aviation trading. With Baumert, TUI has apparently decided to stay with a familiar face at the top of the unit. Baumert has been with the company since 1999.
Andryszak’s self-inspired departure notwithstanding, it was no secret to anyone who follows the German travel trade news, that he had a problem with German travel agents. They didn’t like his style which, news accounts suggested, was that of someone who is remote. In any event, he is gone, and TUI has his problems still. Just take a look at the last monthly report, for August, of the “ta.ts travel agency mirror.” (“ta.ts” stands for Travel Agency Technologies & Services GmbH, which is based in Frankfurt.)
Agency Sales—the Numbers. The ta.ts report uses data from invoiced values from August 2021, vs. those of 2020 and those of 2019. The 2020 numbers are as low as they could possibly get, as they reflect a market that was hardly active—one that was in the midst of the worst part of the global pandemic.
With the above as preface, here are the key findings:
⦁ The total invoiced sales of the travel agencies recorded in the “ta.ts travel agency mirror” in August 2021 were up 84.0 percent compared to the same month of 2020. Compared to August 2019, the total invoiced sales are down 62.2 percent.
⦁ The billed tourism turnover in August showed an increase of 96.5 percent vs. 2020.
⦁ Compared to August 2019, the billed tourism turnover is down 56.6 percent.
⦁ The turnover in air traffic recorded in August increased by 76.0 percent compared to 2020. In August 2019 the turnover in air traffic shows a decrease of 72.1 percent.
⦁ “Other” sales in August 2021 vs. 2020 were up 57.1 percent and minus 48.2 percent vs. 2019.
⦁ The number of tickets sold was up 44 percent compared to August 2020 and down 68 percent compared to August 2019.
⦁ The turnover from the tourism sub-sector of cruises was up 190.8 percent in August compared to 2020, and down 61.5 percent compared with August 2019.
⦁ Viewed cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to August was minus 28.4 percent compared to 2020.
⦁ For the period January to August vs. 2019, the cumulative invoiced travel agency revenue was minus 80.0 percent.
⦁ Tourism recorded a minus of 27.0 percent compared to 2020 and minus 79.1 percent compared to 2019.
⦁ Air traffic experienced a decline of 35.3 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of 84.3 percent compared to 2019.
⦁ “Other” sales showed a decrease of 12.5 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of 63.3 percent vs. 2019. The number of tickets was a decrease of 44.6 percent compared to 2020 and minus 83.6 percent compared to 2019.
⦁ The cruises segment recorded a decrease of 42.6 percent compared to 2020 and a decline of 81.7 percent compared to 2019.
⦁ Incoming orders for tourism in August 2021 were up 263.1 percent for the month compared to 2020.
⦁ The tourism order backlog by travel date up to October 2021 is minus 38.1percent compared to 2020.
⦁ For the cruises segment, incoming orders were up 147.3 compared to the month, the order backlog by travel date up to October 2021 was minus 36.4 percent.
⦁ Incoming orders for tourism in August 2021 were minus 61.1 percent compared to the month of 2019.
The tourism order backlog by travel date up to October 2021 was minus 9.9 percent compared to 2019. For cruises, incoming orders are down 73.8 percent in a month-on-month comparison; the order backlog by travel date up to October 2021 is minus 1.6 percent.
● “German business travel spending is at lowest since records have been kept” screamed the headline over the article in Business Travel News Europe. It pointed out that spending by German companies on business travel has fallen to the lowest level since records began almost two decades ago, according to the German Business Travel Association (VDR).
The VDR data noted that business travel expenditures totaled €10.1 billion ($11.9 billion), 81.7 per cent lower than in 2019 and the lowest figure since it started collecting data 19 years ago. The VDR report’s key numbers were as follows:
⦁ In total, there were 32.7 million business trips in 2020 (down 83.3 per cent on 2019) and 3.3 million business travelers (down 74.9 per cent).
⦁ The majority of trips (83 per cent) were domestic.
⦁ 28.6 per cent of SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) and 24.2 per cent of public sector organizations completely avoided business trips during the year. However, the article noted) trips by SMEs tended to be longer than they were prior to the COVID virus and the global pandemic it created.
⦁ As a result of the sobering numbers in the data, the added value of a business trip will be examined even more carefully in the future, with some 80 per cent of the larger and 72 per cent of the smaller companies and 81 per cent of those in the public sector expecting a permanent reduction in business travel.
⦁ 84 per cent of those responsible for business travel will include working from anywhere, increasingly also from the home office, in their planning.
Commenting on the findings, VDR vice president Inge Pirner said, “The results show painfully the force with which the COVID-19 pandemic hit companies and providers in the business travel industry. The analysis also proves once again the importance of business travel for Germany as a business location.”