ROUNDUP / travel industry: ‘The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter’
A woman orients herself on a trip on a city map. (Icon image) © anyaberkut / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The travel industry, which has been hard hit by the Corona crisis, is hoping for an improvement in the business situation. Tour operators and travel agencies are preparing for another difficult year, as the president of the DRV travel association, Nobert Fiebig, reported on Wednesday. “But the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.” Big tour operators like Tui
In the tourism year 2020/21, which is coming to an end, the crisis again tore deep holes in the balance sheet. The DRV expects a decline in sales compared to the pre-Corona year 2019 of 69 percent or almost twelve billion euros for tour operator trips. Business picked up after the relaxation of the corona restrictions and the end of travel warnings for many popular destinations around the Mediterranean in the summer. But the almost total failure of the winter season between November 2020 and April 2021 caused by the pandemic could not be compensated for. The slump in sales since the start of the pandemic in Europe in March 2020 has therefore totaled around 24 billion euros.
The industry expects vacationers to catch up on trips that were postponed or canceled during the pandemic next year. Fiebig spoke of a “turning point” in the past few weeks: “We will see a significant recovery in our business.”
The consumer mood in Germany has recently risen and the propensity to save has decreased. Since the end of many restrictions, the money is looser. The industry hopes to benefit from this. However, booking behavior is extremely dependent on the development of the pandemic and the associated government measures. “We need reliability and predictability,” said Fiebig to the address of the future federal government.
Many sun seekers are still unsettled. Because they do not know how the pandemic will continue, they book sun destinations at short notice, especially in winter. In addition, numerous countries cannot yet be visited or only with severe restrictions, for example Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
According to information from major tour operators, the picture is different for the summer travel business 2022. For example, the advance bookings at the FTI Group are already in the high double-digit percentage increase over those of the summer of 2019, as company boss Ralph Schiller recently explained. “Customers perceive the summer of 2022 as safe.” Industry leader Tui reported very encouraging booking figures for the summer at the beginning of October.
The wave of insolvencies feared in the travel industry in the Corona crisis has not yet materialized. “The state support measures have made a significant contribution to the survival of the companies in the time of crisis,” reported Fiebig. He hopes that tour operators and travel agencies will be able to run their business on their own again when government measures such as bridging aid and the current short-time work regulation expire. “I hope that companies have positioned themselves more efficiently, leaner and more crisis-proof.”
The sector is worried about the shortage of skilled workers. According to a recent DRV survey, this has worsened during the pandemic. 70 percent of the more than 550 companies surveyed see it that way. More than half also reported that employees left the company during the crisis.
The aviation industry in Germany is also slowly overcoming the corona crisis. In the winter flight schedule of the airports, which will apply from Sunday (October 31), 68 percent of the flight program from the pre-crisis period has been restored, according to an analysis by the industry association BDL. Last winter, the airlines reduced their offer significantly due to the corona pandemic and the associated travel restrictions.
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With a view to climate change, Fiebig believes it makes sense to manufacture CO2-free kerosene on an industrial scale. “The technology is there, it has to be rolled out”. At the same time, he emphasized that cheap flights for, for example, 10 euros “are not acceptable from a sustainability point of view.” / Mar / DP / mis
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