After the tough Corona years, the German travel industry sees itself on course for the record sales of the pre-pandemic year 2019. "The bottom of the year 2021 has finally been passed," said the President of the German Travel Association DRV, Norbert Fiebig, on Monday on the occasion of the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin. "We expect to close at the sales level of the record year 2019 - i.e. before Corona." Despite the high inflation, people's need for vacation travel is great.
According to the DRV, in the months of January and February, which were traditionally the busiest months for bookings before the pandemic, the demand for tour operators rose sharply this year. The number of new bookings in travel agencies and on online travel portals almost consistently exceeded the comparable weeks of the pre-Corona year. "We are seeing a trend reversal: Those who want to take a holiday are booking much earlier again and are taking advantage of the current early booking discounts from travel providers," reported the DRV President. "The travel industry is ready to take off in 2023." But the industry needs stable, trouble-free air traffic for this, warned Fiebig.
Last year, the skyrocketing demand for air travel following the lifting of most corona restrictions had pushed the aviation industry to its limits. The consequences at German airports were delays and cancellations as well as long waiting times, for example at baggage claim and security checks.
Travel fair ITB is only open to trade visitors
In the 2021/2022 tourism year (November 1, 2021 to October 31, 2022), holidaymakers reportedly booked package tours worth 25.9 billion euros, an increase of 148 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the value of the tour operators' package and module trips is approaching the pre-Corona levels again. "The package tour is back," said Fiebig.
Overall, spending by German citizens on services booked in advance rose from EUR 28.8 billion in the 2020/2021 travel year to EUR 58.6 billion now. They were still 15.7 percent down on the pre-corona value. Holiday and private trips with at least one overnight stay booked before the start of the trip are recorded for this purpose.
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the travel industry will meet again this year in Berlin at the ITB. In contrast to the pre-Corona years, the travel fair (March 7th to 9th) is now only open to trade visitors. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck wants to officially open the ITB on Monday evening (6 p.m.).
DER-Touristik-Manager: The desire to travel is back
After the comeback of tourism, last-minute bargain hunters have to be prepared for more difficult times this year, according to DER tourism manager Ingo Burmester. "Hoteliers and airlines have become hesitant about last-minute bargains," said the Central Europe boss of Germany's second largest travel group to the German Press Agency.
Travelers have to be prepared for higher prices in view of the sharp rise in inflation. "Overall, the price increases roughly correspond to the increase in consumer prices," said Burmester. "Of course, we pass on to our customers the lower prices that we negotiated well in advance when purchasing hotel and flight capacities."
The tour operator expects to clearly exceed the level of the time before the corona crisis on the German market this year. "We assume that the travel year 2022/2023 will be noticeably higher in terms of booking turnover than before the pandemic, at least in the high single-digit percentage range," said Burmester. The main brand Dertour and its sister brands ITS and Meiers Weltreisen have seen strong demand since the beginning of the year with booking sales above the pre-Corona level. "The desire to travel is back."