In the week or so leading up to the day of publication of this issue of INBOUND, it felt as if the major players in Germany’s tourism industry were playing no-one-wins futbol—kicking the ball back-and-forth with no apparent indication of just how the exercise is going to end, especially since the playfield has three sides.
—On one side, the numbers reported on tourism sales activity for the German travel trade were encouraging—another steady, stubborn monthly increase compared to 2020, but not near the level of activity the industry
—On another side are the figures that it is going to tough going for what remained for the rest of the year could turn positive.
—On another level or side is the anxiety over the COVID-19 virus and the crisis it has created for all travelers throughout the global and the possibility that a relatively a new form—the Omicron Virant—would sweep through Europe and wreak havoc on the continent.
(Remember, as we review some of the numbers on sales, gains and losses for November, that, at the same time, the results of an Amadeus survey showed that four out of five—81 percent—Germans had a strong desire to travel.)
● First, a breakout of sales numbers from ta.ts “ta.ts Reisebürospiegel” (or ta.ts* Travel Agency Mirror.) Total invoice sale activity by travel agents revealed the following figures.
473.0 = percent increase in total invoiced agency sales compared to November 2020.
55.5 = percent decrease compared vs. November 2019
884.3 percent = increase in billed tourism turnover vs. November 2020
51.4 = percent = decrease in billed tourism turnover vs. November 2019
481.4 = percent increase in air traffic billed vs. November 2020
59.1 = percent decrease in billed tourism turnover vs. November 2019
177.5 = percent increase in “other” sales vs. November 2020
50.1 percent = percent decrease in “other” sales vs 2019
400.7 = percent increase in number of tickets sold vs. November 2020
63.1 = percent decrease vs. November 2019
736.9 = percent increase in sales of the tourism subdivision of cruises vs. November 2020
60.3 = percent decrease in sales of cruise subdivision vs. November 2019
Finally, the key data points: viewed cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to November is plus 17.5 percent compared to 2020. For the period January to November vs. 2019, the cumulative invoiced travel agency revenue is minus 72.8 percent.
*Travel Agency Technologies & Services is a Frankfurt-based company that specializes data and technology management, as well as accounting services.
● In a report by the German travel trade publication Touristik Aktuell, Guido Wiegand from the Research Association for Holidays and Travel (Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen, or FUR)
said, “As far as spring is concerned, the tourism industry should have good hopes … The big organizers are also in good spirits and are forecasting a summer season for next year that should come close to the strong sales from the record year 2019.”
“These expectations are not out of thin air.” said Wiegand, who pointed out the following:
—The research community is convinced that some trends that arose during the Corona crisis will remain with us in the next year. For example, the customers’ willingness to book at short notice. Their uncertainty was recently reflected in extreme short-term bookings.
—In September, more than a third of all travelers opted for a vacation that was due to leave four weeks later. Wiegand estimates that the number of extreme short-term bookers will continue to increase in 2022.
● In a closely followed financial report earlier this month, TUI, which is Europe’s largest tour operator, conceded that the appearance on the scene of the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 had “weakened positive momentum” for bookings. In its report, TUI strained to find the positive side of its situation: while it posted an annual loss of over 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion), it pointed to an “encouraging” current pipeline of 4.1 million bookings across the winter 2021/22 and summer 2022 seasons, with 1.4 million bookings taken since October 3 rd. In spite of the impact of Omicron, the TUI said trading “continues to be in line” with TUI’s winter capacity plans, which are currently between 60% and 80% of pre-Covid levels. It also suggested that it was close to breaking even in the first quarter of the new financial year.