Every second person is looking forward to a holiday.

16 March 2021

The Corona pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill. Tourism in particular is suffering from the loss of bookings and drastically reduced numbers of holidaymakers. The result: historic slumps in the travel market. In Germany alone, the number of holidaymakers fell by 19 percent in 2020. In addition and like the travel behavior of the Germans changes, the federation Internet travel selling (VIR) accomplished an interesting study. The conclusion: even though tourism is struggling, there is great hope for more freedom to travel in the Summer 2021.


The holiday travel intensity

We are now already in the second year that the pandemic has overshadowed and affected our lives. But already in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, the effects on tourism were clearly noticeable. This is because holiday travel intensity - the proportion of the population that took at least one holiday trip of 5 days or more in duration - plummeted to just 63%. This is also confirmed by a Studyconducted by VIR. The last time there was a historical slump of this kind was in the 1980s. The triggers for this are the individual Corona measures in the respective countries, as well as the strict travel restrictions and the concern of travellers about a possible infection with the virus.

Not since the reunification of Germany has travel volume been recorded as low as it was in 2020, with travel down by 29 % - a drop of over 20 million holiday trips.

Last year, the holiday intensity of the Germans was at the level of the 1980s.

The most popular destinations

While Germans traveled less in 2020 and for the most part also avoided foreign countries, domestic tourism experienced a short-lived upswing. "Holiday trips abroad experienced an unprecedented slump in 2020 to only 55% market share. In the case of short breaks, the already traditionally high domestic travel share rose from 75% to 81%," writes VIR.

These are the top travel destinations of the Germans:

  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Turkey
  • Netherlands
  • Croatia
  • Poland
  • Greece
  • France
  • Denmark

In the ranking of the most popular foreign holiday destinations in 2020, the market positions have remained largely stable. Spain continues to top the list of the most popular foreign destinations (8% of all holiday trips), followed by Italy (6%). Trips to Austria are also as popular as in previous years and, like Turkey, come in at 5%. Local destinations that were easily accessible by car were particularly popular.

When 2020 travelled, it was usually to local destinations that could be reached independently and by car.

The holiday behaviour of the Germans

The average duration of travel by Germans fell to 11.6 days last year (around 1.4 days lower than in previous years). When organising holidays, package tours, which used to be the most popular form for stays of 5 days or more, moved into the background. Instead, individual accommodation bookings have become increasingly popular. "The number of pre-booked holidays, where at least one service was booked before the start of the trip, declined by more than 30%, similar to the overall market," proves the VIR study. This means that sales of pre-booked holiday trips have also fallen by 40%.

Germans want to go on holiday again in 2021

After a year of travel lull, Germans want to explore the world again in 2021. The desire to go on holiday is great. At the beginning of the year, one in two wanted to travel again. 62% of the population also said they had sufficient financial means to do so. "A third of those surveyed would also be prepared this year to travel, if necessary, to countries or regions that would otherwise not be their first choice as a travel destination," according to the study.

Therefore, the hope for more travel freedom in the summer of 2021 is increasing, as shown by the weekly new bookings since the beginning of the year. For trips to the Maldives is currently even booked almost at the level of 2019.

Top 10 holiday regions summer 2021 (as of Feb. 21)

  • Turkish Riviera
  • Crete
  • Majorca
  • Kos
  • Rhodes Town
  • , Hurghada
  •  Fuerteventura
  • Malé (Maldives)
  • Grand Canary
  • Tenerife
Bookings are just experiencing a slight upswing again. Especially the Maldives are now back at the same level as 2019.

Picture Credits: Steve Bidmead / Pixabay, Free-Photos / Pixabay, Günther Schneider / Pixabay 

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