German sales slump

Tourism chiefs see "challenging" year ahead as demand weakens

Norbert Fiebig is cautious about the German market outlook for this year.
DRV/Christian Wyrwa
Norbert Fiebig is cautious about the German market outlook for this year.

The German travel industry is facing a tough year with summer holiday sales already 3% down on last year and the coronavirus outbreak now starting to impact on travel demand, according to industry chiefs.

German consumers are holding back with their bookings, according to the latest figures from market researchers Travel Data + Analytics (TDA). Sales revenues for both the current winter season and summer 2020 are 3% lower on a cumulative basis, as of end-January. Bookings for summer 2020 are down by 9% but average spending per package holiday is 3% higher, TDA said.

The big question now for the German travel industry is how the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus from China to parts of Asia, Europe and the Americas will impact on bookings over the coming weeks.

“We can certainly observe a rising uncertainty among holidaymakers and business travellers,” admitted Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Industry Association (DRV), at a pre-ITB press conference last week. “This is creating an additional need for advice from travel agents and tour operators.”

The DRV has declined to make any precise forecasts for the current tourism year due to this uncertainty. “We are facing a challenging year. The longer the crisis goes on, the more the (travel) sector will be impacted,” Fiebig said. A high level of last-minute bookings could be one consequence.

Sales revenues for the biggest summer holiday destinations for Germans are lower at present with just three exceptions – Egypt (+14%), Turkey (+2%) and Germany (+7%) – according to TDA figures. Both the Balearics and the Canaries are 5% behind last year (although Fuerteventura has slightly higher bookings). Greece is down by 5%, with Rhodes showing growth and Crete nearly at last year’s level but Kos and Corfu well behind 2019 sales.