US News Despite summer bookings, tourism industry expects tough year

14:34  03 march  2021
14:34  03 march  2021 Source:   pressfrom.com

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After the historic slump in the Corona crisis year 2020, the German travel industry is preparing for further hard times and is largely writing off the current tourism year economically.

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"It would be considered a success if we achieved around 50 percent of the sales volume of 2019 for the travel agency and tour operator market," said Norbert Fiebig, President of the DRV travel association, on Wednesday. After the record year 2019, sales from organized travel fell by 65 percent to 12.5 billion euros in the Corona crisis.

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"This means that sales are falling back to a level of over 30 years ago," said Fiebig just under a week before the start of the international travel fair ITB, which is taking place online this year. "The organized travel market suffered particularly badly from the pandemic." According to the information, people in Germany spent almost 32 billion euros on travel in the past tourism year 2019/2020. That was a decrease of 54 percent.

According to the information, there are increasing signs of an increase in bookings for the important summer season. "With the prospect of vaccinations and more opportunities for tests, the confidence that you will soon be able to travel again increases," reported Fiebig.

Overall, however, new bookings in the past few weeks remained at a level of around 20 percent of the previous year's volume. "This drop in sales in tour operator bookings of over 80 percent compared to the same period last year will not even come close to being caught up. This year will continue to be characterized by losses for the travel industry," said Fiebig. Usually the first few weeks of the year are the main booking months.

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According to the DRV, most customers are currently booking trips for the summer or later in the year - sometimes even for trips next year. So far, Greece and Turkey have been high on the popularity scale for package air travel. The winter season, which runs until the end of April - and thus also the Easter holidays - account for only 13 percent of the new bookings that were made in mid-February.

A lack of opening strategies in politics and great uncertainty about travel options during the Easter holidays caused many customers to hesitate. "Not only the entire industry, but also people need clear and easily plannable perspectives," demanded Fiebig, also with a view to the corona consultations of the federal and state governments on Wednesday.

Around a third of the companies expect business to start at Pentecost or summer, according to a DRV survey of around 600 member companies. Few of the companies see a restart at Easter. Ten percent of the travel agencies surveyed and almost nine percent of the tour operators see no chance at all of starting business this year.

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The DRV calls for systematic corona tests instead of quarantine after travelers return from abroad. "The argument of insufficient test capacities no longer applies," said Fiebig. More speed when vaccinating is even more important. "It cannot be that we are lagging so behind in an international comparison." In addition, politicians must refrain from making “never-ending appeals” to refrain from traveling.

The corona crisis shifted the balance on the travel market last year. For the first time, only 39 percent of private and holiday trips were booked through tour operators - the share so far has been over 50 percent. Vacationers mainly focus on destinations between Usedom and Garmisch-Partenkirchen or in neighboring countries such as Austria, which they can reach by car or train. Travelers usually organize these trips themselves.

Nevertheless, the DRV does not expect a fundamental change in travel behavior in the long term. According to a recent survey by GfK consumer researchers, little has changed in the popularity of the destinations. In addition to Germany, the respondents are aiming for the Balearic Islands, Greece, Italy, the Canary Islands, Austria and other global destinations in the next few years.

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