After two years of the pandemic, German tourists have made it clear that they want to travel in 2022. The outlook for this season was therefore optimistic: bookings increased in February and even exceeded pre-pandemic levels for a few weeks, Spain leading the demand. But these good forecasts remained in abeyance after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine casts a dark shadow of uncertainty”, argues the president of the Association of German Travel Agencies and Operators (DRV), Norbert Fiebig, in the analysis launched by the entity before the ITB in Berlin, which will take place next week in digital format. “That remains to be seen to what extent the war will prolong the general uncertainty in the weeks to come and its impact on the bookings and travel behavior of German citizens,” he warns.
For this reason, Fiebig urges that diplomacy be imposed again “so that this illegal war and the increasing suffering of the people can be stopped as soon as possible”.
“Russia’s brutal invasion has deeply affected and shocked the world. It is unbelievable and I am personally deeply saddened that diplomatic efforts in the 21st century were unsuccessful and were unable to prevent Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” he said.
And it is that the conflict has clouded the good prospects of German agencies for this year 2022once the last wave of COVID-19 has passed.
As DRV explains, travel bookings during the summer months increased significantly in February. “The weekly turnover volume even exceeded that of the same weeks in February 2019 and therefore the pre-COVID period”, explains the association.
In this sense, they confirm how much German travelers bet on organized trips: three quarters of all new bookings in physical travel agencies and online agencies are currently organized trips, according to current estimates by Travel Data + Analytics (TDA) for DRV.
Travelers at Berlin airport. Photo. Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
They also recall how last Tuesday the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced the removal of all risk area classifications from this Thursday, which means the end of restrictions to enter Germany.
“The barriers to travel must disappear permanently. People need more reliability, including when planning travel,” he defends.
The Mediterranean and Spain, leaders
Which destinations were most in demand until the outbreak of the war? According to DRV, these classic Mediterranean spots for Germans recorded a strong demand for ski passes for next summer: “they represent two-thirds of the turnover achieved to date”, he indicates.
At the same time, many long distance travel destinations they are also in high demand for the high season.
And in terms of business volume, DRV offers the ranking of the most requested destinations until mid-February: Spain leads the ranking, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, followed by Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, Germany itself, the Maldives, United States and Bulgaria
In addition to vacation packages, sea and river cruise bookings also increased, with a cruise offer focused on Europe, the Caribbean and the Persian Gulf region. “The mood in the industry is good,” DRV President Fiebig said of the good level of advance bookings for long-haul and ocean-going cruises.
Sales had also accelerated for Easter, with nearly a third of all new bookings made in February for those dates.
In this way, DRV has recorded an increase in demand for air travel packages in the holiday regions around the airports of Antalya (Turkey), Hurghada (Egypt) and Palma de Mallorca, followed by the Maldives, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Tenerife.
Likewise, Abu Dhabi and Punta Cana were also very popular with German tourists for Easter.
However, despite the increase in summer bookings and billing peaks in certain weeks, German agencies warn that by mid-February only 48% of summer 2019 sales had been achieved, according to Fiebig, who points out that compared to the summer of 2021, there has been a very significant increase of 159%.
“I expect a very good summer this year, because Germans like to travel. However, at the moment it is difficult to assess the possible effects of the situation in Ukraine”, points out Fiebig, who hopes that in 2023 sales can reach pre-pandemic levels.
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