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The German National Tourist Board expects 2021 to be a year of transition for incoming tourism

February 18, 2021 Visit Europe No Comments Email Email

Incoming Tourism in 2020, as expected, closed with strong losses compared to the previous year – Continued willingness to travel opens up opportunities for initial recovery approaches in 2021

2021 will be a year of transition due to the Covid-19 pandemic for German incoming tourism, but gradual recovery in international demand can be expected as well. This is forecasted by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) based on the figures available to date for 2020, and the analyzes of market research institutes.

Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the Board of the GNTB: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting standstill in large parts of global tourism are reflected in the balance sheet for German incoming tourism in 2020. Simultaneously, international studies confirm the radiance of the brand, Destination Germany, and the increasing willingness of international guests to travel. Especially the contributors of the German tourism industry faced the challenges of the crisis during the lockdown phases. However, along the adapting customer journey, many processes were digitized, and extensive hygiene concepts developed. Tourist offers were aligned with the adjusted customer needs. This reinvented environment creates good conditions for a recovery phase.”

Incoming balance of 2020: a decrease in overnight stays

As expected, German incoming tourism suffered significant losses in 2020. According to preliminary information from the Federal Statistical Office, 32 million overnight stays by foreigners in accommodations with at least ten beds and campsites were registered, resulting in a decrease of 64.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Perspective for 2021: Gradual recovery of international demand

In its ‘Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel’, the European Travel Commission (ETC) recorded a steadily increasing willingness to travel in the coming months.

The scenario is also reflected by the forecast of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Its experts assume that after a slump in airline sales worldwide in 20219/2020 by 61 percent to $328 billion, in 2021 they could see a rise by 40 percent to $459 billion.

Petra Hedorfer continued: “Despite the ongoing lockdown phases and travel restrictions, there is the reason for cautious optimism. In view of the experiences of the past year, we expect an increase in travel from Germany and Europe, especially in the summer months. Incoming from overseas markets is expected to recover more slowly.

We continue to assume that private travel will recover faster than business travel. The business travel segment will be increasingly characterized by hybrid formats and online events in the medium term. Based on these developments, the pre-crisis level of incoming travel to Germany can be regained by 2024. The digital transformation, innovations and sustainable orientation of tourism in Germany remain a prerequisite for a market recovery.

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