The current optimism of European and American tourists is not yet affected by the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine, but the forecasts for the future have become gloomy, if not creepy… Such data was shown by a survey undertaken by the consulting company Fried & partner. According to their figures, 35.8% of travel agents in Germany currently rate the current travel sales situation as good. At the same time, the share of agencies claiming that “sales are at a satisfactory level” in February was 50%, and in March it decreased to 46.2%. However, the share of agencies reporting poor sales declined to 17.9% in March from 23% in February.
Forecasts for the future are very pessimistic. The share of those who said that “the demand for travel will grow” was 79% in February, and decreased to 69.4% in March. The share of agencies expecting business to remain stable over the next six months rose from 18.1% in February to 20% in March, but the share of those who said business would completely “drop” rose from 2.9% to 10.2% And that's what shocked everyone. There is also a decline in the expectations for the income of travel agencies. The share of those who said that “incomes will increase”, which was 63.9% in February, decreased to 61.1% in March.
In general, the numbers are logical. On the one hand, Europeans “exhausted by the coronavirus” are eager to relax, on the other hand, the wild rise in fuel prices leads to a sharp increase in tour prices, which is too much for thrifty Europeans. Geopolitical upheavals also do not benefit tourism. As a result, five main trends were identified at the Berlin ITB – tours will become more expensive, tourists will prefer “short” bookings, the coronavirus will leave the agenda, etc. Here are five trends in tourism change in Germany and the USA (the most developed countries in terms of tourism), identified by ITB experts:
- Summer holidays in 2022 will be more expensive: a sharp increase in prices “cannot be ruled out,” said Norbert Fiebig, president of the German travel association DRV. Lufthansa has already announced an increase in ticket prices. Therefore, the head of the FTI Group, Ralf Schiller, recommends planning your vacation in advance. At the same time, old problems have not gone away: after two years of the coronavirus pandemic, hotels and airlines in many places have not yet fully increased their capacity. TUI has announced that prices are rising in the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Kos, and in some cases summer and Pentecost quotas are no longer enough. By the way, as in Russia, in Germany, the price of local resorts on the Baltic Sea has also “flyed up”. And 70% are already booked. Related services, such as car rentals, will also be more expensive.
- The coronavirus is off the agenda, with more and more countries lifting restrictions or planning to do so in the foreseeable future. Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Slovenia no longer have entry restrictions. In Germany, the simplification is expected on March 20.
- The tourism industry is not yet afraid of geopolitical consequences – despite all the fears in Europe in connection with the Russian special operation, the number of bookings is still growing, but the situation in Ukraine creates additional problems for the tourism industry, according to the German Tourism Association (DRV). The fate of tourism depends on how quickly the special operation ends – and whether it will go beyond the borders of Ukraine, as the Germans fear.
- Tourists prefer online bookings and shorter lead times: while most German tourists took more than three months to make a decision to buy a tour in 2019, now 28% of tourists make a decision within one to three months. The relevance of travel cancellation insurance has increased by almost 10%.
- Domestic tourism and Mediterranean classics: Of the outbound destinations, Mediterranean classics are especially popular among Germans. “Growth is even higher than in 2019,” says Tui Germany boss Baumert. Top favorites are Mallorca, the Turkish Riviera and the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes and Kos. The second trend is domestic tourism, which, however, will decline. Domestic travel accounted for 45% in 2020 and 37% in 2021.
Pessimists predict that the upcoming rise in prices of everything will inevitably affect the prices of air tickets and this crisis for tourism will be even worse than the coronavirus one. For example, the European aviation industry will face hard times due to sanctions, closed skies and skyrocketing kerosene prices. The number of air travel in Europe for the week decreased by 23%, and transatlantic flights – by 13%. Including “arrived” and tourism – the losses are already being reported. Thus, the number of bookings in the Spanish Balearic Islands decreased by 40%. The resorts were counting on a successful Easter holidays and the summer season – but this probably doesn’t shine for them …
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