After two Corona years with sometimes severe travel restrictions, the demand for summer vacation is high, organizers report. It might not be a good season for bargain hunters though.

The record-breaking inflation and the Ukraine war do not seem to curb people’s desire to travel in Germany after two years of Corona – on the contrary.

Tour operators are reporting a sharp increase in bookings for the summer, which have exceeded the level before the corona crisis for a few weeks. In addition, sun-seekers sometimes pay more for the most beautiful weeks of the year. For example, they booked longer vacations and more luxury hotels, explains industry leader Tui. Subsequent price increases or kerosene surcharges exclude Tui, Der Touristik and Co. for trips that have already been booked.

Association: Germans want to go on vacation again

“Holidays are at the top of the wish list of Germans this year after a long time, even rising energy costs and increasing inflation are not detracting from this wish,” says Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV) of the current situation. Instead, with an overall stable price level for package tours, people would spend even more on vacation this year.

Many organizers bought a large part of the flight and hotel contingents last year at the prices of the time. However, the closer the departure date gets, the more expensive it can be for last-minute travellers, because the trip may no longer be able to be served from the existing contingent. According to Tui boss Fritz Joussen, there could be fewer last-minute bargains this year.

According to a survey by GfK consumer researchers commissioned by the Bavarian Center for Tourism (BZT), 69 percent of those surveyed who generally travel would definitely like to go on vacation this summer. A low price is an important criterion for choosing a holiday destination for a third of those who want to travel and who have not yet booked or are still unsure.

Higher ticket prices due to energy costs

In any case, air passengers have to be prepared for higher ticket prices in the summer due to increased fuel costs as a result of the Ukraine war. The aviation groups Lufthansa and Air France-KLM point to this. “We have to pass rising costs on to our customers,” said Lufthansa CFO Remco Steenbergen recently.

The travel group FTI Group noticed a dent in bookings after the start of the Ukraine war. In the meantime, demand has picked up again, says FTI boss Ralph Schiller. “Incoming bookings are good for the entire period from the Easter holidays until autumn, and we are exceeding the pre-corona figures of 2019 in popular destinations.” According to Schiller, destinations around the Mediterranean, such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey, as well as Egypt, are particularly in demand. “Here it could be tight with the places on the coveted dates in the summer season.”

According to the organizer Alltours, they also feel “an enormous need to catch up”. The daily incoming bookings for the summer are currently between 40 and 80 percent higher than in the pre-corona summer of 2019. “There will definitely be no kerosene surcharge at Alltours for trips that have already been booked,” emphasizes a spokeswoman.

DER Touristik reports that prices for Turkey, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands are currently stable. Long-distance trips, for example to Thailand or the Caribbean, are even around five percent cheaper than last summer. Despite the significant increase in bookings, the company does not anticipate bottlenecks during peak travel times. “However, there is an extremely high demand for high-quality products. Above all, the destinations Turkey, Greece and the Balearic Islands are in great demand.”

Regardless of the current boom, according to the DRV, the sales of travel agencies and tour operators for the tourism year to date are still below the level of the comparable period of 2019 probably not yet reach this year, »Fiebig confirmed an earlier forecast. He was cautiously optimistic for 2023, despite the unpredictable course of the Ukraine war and increased inflation.