USA, here we come! Lifting of Travel Ban this month cheers German travel trade.
Timing is everything. For those who follow the key index on the retail side of the tourism business in Germany—it has been the only readily available measure since the outbreak of the pandemic crisis—the monotonous tally of anemic numbers was as painful as a visit to a dentist to have a tooth pulled.
Then, on September 20th, the U.S. government announced that, beginning November 8, the ban on travel to the USA from the UK, most EU nations and some other countries was being lifted.
The month of October triggered a spending spree for long-haul travel to the United States—it is the number two overseas source market for visitors to the U.S., behind only the UK—and, more important for the overall tourism industry, it helped increase travel within Europe and short-haul international traffic as well.
The total invoiced turnover of the travel agencies recorded in the “ta.ts Reisebürospiegel” (or ta.ts* Travel Agency Mirror) was up 389.6 percent in October 2021 compared to the same month of 2020. Compared to the very strong year of October 2019, total invoiced revenue was down 49.6 percent. The rest of the figures that follow, as well as the bar chart below, are a statistical measure of how much Germans had longed to travel abroad during the 20-month reign of the pandemic, which is still not over.
|Sign of industry recovery in Germany: Lufthansa announced the week before last that it has finally finished returning all the financial aid that the German government had given it early in the pandemic, much sooner than it had planned. The government of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel contributed 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to the Lufthansa group for its recapitalization, just as the pandemic crisis began. Later, it granted a loan of 3,000 million euros ($3.4 billion) with the same purpose in mind.
—Billed tourism turnover for October showed an increase of 334.8 percent compared to 2020. Compared to October 2019, the billed tourism turnover is down much less—minus 40.6% percent
—Air traffic revenue was up 837.1 for the month compared to 2020. As of October 2019, revenue in air traffic was down 58.4 percent.
—“Other” revenues in October 2021 vs. 2020 were up 127.5 percent and down 43.4 percent vs. 2019, respectively.
—The number of tickets was up 450.1 percent compared to October 2020 and minus 59.3 when compared to October 2019.
—Revenue from the Cruises tourism division was up 508.8 percent in October compared to 2020 and down 49.0 percent compared to October 2019.
—Cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to October was plus 5.5 percent compared to 2020. For the same period in 2019, cumulative invoiced travel agency revenue was minus 74.2 percent.
—Tourism experienced an increase of 11.0 percent compared to 2020 and minus 71.6 percent compared to 2019. Air traffic recorded an increase of 0.1 percent vs. 2020 and a decline of 79.5 percent when measured against 2019.
—“Other” revenues show an increase of 4.6 percent compared to 2020 and a minus of 59.1 percent compared to 2019.
—The number of tickets is down 18.1 percent compared to 2020 and down 78.8 percent compared to 2019.
—The sub-segment of cruises recorded a cumulative minus of 11.7 percent compared to 2020 and a minus of 75.9 percent compared to 2019.
*Travel Agency Technologies & Services is a Frankfurt-based company that specializes data and technology management, as well as accounting services.
Survey—Four out of five Germans want to travel in 2022: Results of a recent survey* of Germans conducted by Amadeus suggest that the desire to travel is strong. Some specific survey findings include the following:
—81 percent of Germans want to travel next year.
—European destinations comprise the top choice, as 62 percent prefer a vacation in Europe.
—91 percent of the respondents would be willing to provide personal information and health data for the use of the digital health passport.
—Many travel restrictions are still problematic, as they cause irritation among vacationers. Around a third of those surveyed (34 percent) think that the current international travel restrictions and guidelines are confusing and unclear. And that keeps them from booking a trip.
—Travelers have almost no problems with sharing their health data. 91 percent of those surveyed would be willing to provide personal information and health data for the use of the digital health passport.
—The COVID-19 virus continues to cause certain fears among potential vacationers. The greatest concern of German travelers is the possibility of self-isolation or quarantine before and after the trip. This scares 39 percent of those surveyed.
—Next on the list of concerns about changes are travel restrictions that lead to last-minute cancellations (38 percent).
—In addition, the fear of non-reimbursement of payments made caused 37 percent of those surveyed to be reluctant to book.
—Only four percent of the respondents from the Amadeus study are completely free of fear and worry when it comes to traveling in times of COVID.
Amadeus also asked which technology would increase confidence in travel again. Automated and flexible cancellation guidelines would be important for 42 percent of those surveyed. 41 percent would like mobile applications that offer notifications and warnings while traveling. 40 percent would find an app to store digital health data useful.
* For its “Rebuild Travel” survey, Amadeus asked 1,000 citizens in Germany who had traveled abroad in the last 18 months.
And this, from German travel trade publication FVW/TravelTalk: “German travel demand “will go back to the future” … Germans will return to their traditional tourism behavior and choice of destinations once the pandemic ebbs sufficiently to allow international travel to resume ‘normally’ again worldwide, according to a leading tourism researcher. Read more here.