TATS figures

Travel bookings show thin silver lining in May

German travel agencies hardly had any tourism revenues in May. Although the decrease is not as bad as in April, the agents are facing a high double-digit slump for the whole year. Flight bookings in particular are suffering.

Minus 81% in March, even a 93% crash in April: the travel booking situation in Germany could hardly get worse. IT company TATS has now published the figures for May, 2020 – and a thin silver lining can be seen on the horizon: travel agency sales dropped by "only" 90% after the first easing of lockdown regulations in Germany.

As the latest monthly TATS survey of travel agency sales reveals, booking figures are still slumping for all kinds of travel but there is a slight recovery in some sectors. Tourism revenues plummeted by just 62% compared to a 87% decrease in April, cruise bookings were down by 65% (-70% in April). 

Flight sales still show the largest decrease

However, flight ticket sales were almost non-existent with a 98% decrease (–99% in April) after a complete breakdown of international passenger air traffic. This corresponds to the latest statistics of International Air Transport Association IATA. At the low point in April, global passenger air travel was roughly 95% below 2019 levels. IATA expects global traffic levels (in revenue passenger kilometer) for 2020 to fall by 55% compared to 2019.

For the first five months of 2020, TATS reported a decrease of travel sales by 61%. For this period, too, tourism sales (–52%) and cruise revenues (–37%) performed better than flight bookings (–69%).

Downbeat outlook for the rest of the year

But the outlook for the rest of the year ist still gloomy: advance bookings for departures up to the end of October 2020 are 164% lower than the same period last year, including a 162% decrease in cruise sales. These figures are based on the fact that more holidays have been cancelled than actually booked.

TATS (Travel Agency Technologies & Services) is one of the few remaining organisations currently providing regular figures about the German outbound travel market. The company provides various products for the travel industry, including its Ibiza financial management software.