Outlook 2018

Experts predict “strong year” for German holiday market

Prof. Martin Lohmann has researched the German travel market for many years.
Prof. Martin Lohmann has researched the German travel market for many years.

The German outbound travel market is heading for a strong year in 2018 thanks to good underlying economic factors, according to a leading market researcher.

Prof. Martin Lohmann, responsible for the in-depth annual Reiseanalyse market survey conducted by the FUR research network, said many Germans see themselves in a slightly better financial situation this year which will help drive demand for holidays in general.

Nearly one German in four (24%) plans to travel more this year than last year, which is a slight rise on the 23% figure at the same time last year, according to a survey of more than 7,500 Germans conducted in November. Moreover, 30% (compared to 28% last year) want to spend more on travel and holidays in 2018. In contrast, only 13% want to travel less (the same figure as last year) and a similar 13% plan to spend less (down from 14% last year).

“These results demonstrate a positive mood for holidays which signals good starting conditions for 2018,” he said presenting the initial Reiseanalyse 2017 figures at the CMT travel fair in Stuttgart.

Lohmann underlined the “stable high level of demand” in Germany, with 69 million holidays (of 5 days or more) in 2017. In addition, the number of short private trips increased by 2.5% to 91 million last year. Overall spending on holidays went up by 2% to €69 billion in 2017, according to the initial Reiseanalyse results.

The travel expert did not expect any major changes in destinations or types of holidays this year, based on the survey results. With a 30% share, Germany remains the top holiday destination, ahead of Spain, Italy, Turkey, Austria, Greece and Croatia.

But he pointed out: “The constant overall picture should not hide the trend towards individual flexibility and the desire for something new.” As many as 42% of Germans plan to visit a completely new destination this year, with 17% considering a long-haul trip (compared to 15% last year). There is also more interest in city trips, wellness breaks and cruises.

According to Lohmann, a stable 22% of holidays will be booked as packages and a further 11% as a combination of individual elements. However, he predicted that more travel components such as hotels or flights will be booked individually online. In contrast, the number of survey respondents planning to book through a travel agent declined to 16% from 18% in the previous year.