Germans are the world’s travel champions, spending more on foreign travel than any other nation. The German Travel Association (DRV) is the leading lobby group of the German tourism sector, representing the interests of tour operators and travel agents. We asked DRV President, Norbert Fiebig how the German market is evolving.
Last year, Germans were in excellent travel mood and we saw another record-breaking year. Against the background of the latest airline bankruptcies, a somewhat weaker consumer climate and some political uncertainties these days, we expect a challenging but decent year for the German tourism industry in whole. The most important segment still is sun & beach. The cruise success story continues – both for sea and river cruises. In addition, we see a growing interest in luxury and special interest travels.
At this stage, summer bookings are still quite tentative – in marked contrast to the high percentage of early bird bookings we saw in the past year. What is already recognisable is that most German tourists spend their summer holidays in the classic destinations around the Mediterranean. These travel destinations account for around 70% of summer bookings so far.
You did an interesting survey on travel spending by Germans. Can you tell us a little about its findings?
The vacation continues to enjoy the highest priority when it comes to private consumer spending amongst Germans. Last year, Germans spent a total of €95.5 bn – including expenses on site in the country of destination. Out of this the amount of €68 bn were booked in advance in Germany – a plus of 5% compared to 2017.
Package holidays remain the most important way of holiday organisation and travel agencies, the most important booking channel. Nevertheless, online is going to make the change. The good news for the industry is that organised travel sees a stronger growth than individually compiled travel arrangements.
How important is ITB Berlin as a “hub” for the global industry, and why?
For more than 50 years, more than 100,000 trade visitors from all over the world meet in Berlin annually for the leading international travel trade fair, the ITB. The ITB has become a source of inspiration and a pioneer in the global tourism industry and is an indispensable part of our international and open-minded business.
Photo: Norbert Fiebig, President, German Travel Association (DRV)