Terror attack reactions

Germans play safe with destination choices

Many German tourists look likely to switch to ‘safer’ destinations next year in response to terror attacks and conflicts. Some countries face a big impact.

According to an exclusive fvw survey, 20% of German consumers – and 30% of families – are considering changing their holiday plans for next year following the terror attacks in Paris (and in other countries as well) and after the Russian plane crash in Egypt. In particular, they look likely to turn their backs on Muslim countries such as Egypt and Turkey and head south to Spain and Greece (and probably Italy, too).

The survey confirms what many German tourism industry managers, the German Travel Association (DRV) and experts have been repeatedly predicting in recent weeks. Their message has been that Germans will keep travelling – but probably change their choice of destination.

So the consumer survey results are not surprising. No one can blame parents for wanting to ensure they go somewhere safe on holiday with their children. But news that as many as 30% of families might switch to different destinations will force tour operators to review their planning for next year, and will cause some destinations to start worrying about the impact.

The big loser next year will probably be Egypt. The country was starting to make an impressive comeback this year until the Russian plane crash, which nearly everyone believes was a bomb. In response, there is a travel ban for Russians, demand in Britain has weakened, and now German bookings have slumped, too. The downturn seems likely to continue until security can be visibly improved and the country’s image as a safe destination restored.

Turkish tourism is also heading for another difficult year following the escalation with Russia. Unless lifted within the next few months, the Russian travel ban will hit hoteliers on the Turkish Riviera massively. Hoteliers will probably once again be forced to lower rates dramatically to fill their properties. Whether German consumers, who are increasingly concerned about travelling to the country, will fill the gap remains to be seen.

The big winners will be Spain and, probably, Greece. These two ‘western’ destinations appear to be the best place for a safe holiday, according to the fvw survey. Capacity in Spain may well start to sell out fairly quickly if families book early to secure accommodation, while Greece could benefit from better demand after a weak start to summer 2016 sales so far.

Overall, it seems likely that the German package holiday market will stay on the growth path in 2016 but major changes in tourist flows will impact heavily on destinations

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