The desire to travel is greater than ever – despite the pandemic, inflation and climate crisis. In addition, many fear that this could be the last major holiday.
by Edith Cresta
Everyone wants to go. The plane just doesn’t fly. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Eurowings and EasyJet are currently canceling thousands of flights shortly before departure. Aviation troubles don’t stop at holiday weddings. Oskar de Felice, legal expert and head of the legal department at FlightRight, says: “If air travelers are lucky that their flight has not been canceled these days, they may still not be able to fly due to technical problems with air traffic control.” A specialist in traffic law Consumer portal: “The extent and frequency of flight problems and the chaos at airlines and German airports no longer do air travelers justice.”
For many people, the road to heavenly vacations leads through airport hell. The desire to travel is greater than ever. In the past two years, people have “adapted to normal conditions,” says Martin Lohmann from the Research Association for Holidays and Travel (FUR). “People have by no means lost their appreciation for the journey. They don’t want to travel less or far.”
On the contrary, according to the results of FUR’s travel analysis, they have a lot to do. Before the outbreak of the Ukraine war, 61 percent of those surveyed were definitely planning a holiday trip this year. And when it comes to their vacation, Germans are willing to make sacrifices. Whether airport chaos, inflation, the warnings from Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach about the contagious Corona variant BA.5 or the heat waves of climate change – the promise of sun-kissed beaches has not lost its appeal. The people are ripe for the island and tired of the turmoil of viruses, war and environmental destruction.
The most popular travel destinations for Germans this summer are: “Spain with Mallorca and the Canary Islands, Turkey and Greece,” says Torsten Schäfer from the German Travel Association (DRV). But the Dominican Republic and the Maldives are also in high demand. “Long-distance transport is back,” says Schaefer. For the future, TUI is planning further development on long-haul routes. “Senegal will be our insider next winter. The country offers spectacular nature with dream beaches,” says a press release from the travel group. After two Corona summers in the vicinity, there is a change of scenery for the day.
Excitement, wanderlust, love of life – people want to hang out. And no savings are made on vacation. “Demand has been extremely high, especially in the last few weeks. There is hardly a segment or a destination that is not in demand at the moment,” confirms TUI spokesman Agee Dunhaupt. “A week all-inclusive, for two adults and two children, that starts at 2,000 euros,” says Dunhaupt. However, most customers book a four-star hotel in Spain or Turkey for 2,500 to 3,500 euros per week. “For most of our guests, vacation is the biggest and most important consumer spending of the year,” Dunhaupt knows. You believe something and the demand has increased. “Many stay longer, book better rooms or hotels with more stars and more generous facilities.” And he preaches the advantages of package tours: In contrast to pure air travelers, package travelers do not have to worry about replacements for canceled flights. The tour operator will take care of that for you.
According to the organizers, it is not yet clear how Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine will affect demand. FUR tourism researcher Martin Lohmann knows that devastation, war and terror have not fundamentally changed demand over the past few decades. Tourists have moved to other places.
Tourism is booming, but there are doubts that this trend will last for long. Because with an inflation rate of eight percent, the purse is quickly empty. “After the Corona experience, many also say that this might be the last time,” says tourism researcher Lohman. . Additionally, prices are rising now as tour operators launch new tours and buy more hotels and flight crew.
TUI spokesman Dunhaupt has warned that the teams that were bought comparatively cheaply last year will soon run out. “Inflation due to rising energy and food prices will not stop at travel – this growth will also affect travel in the future,” says DRV spokesman Torsten Schäfer.
Could 2022 travel be the beginning of the end of the heat travel boom? Rising prices and flights could just be the beginning of the growing anger: EasyJet announced last week that it would be canceling more flights – beyond the 1,000 connections that were canceled at BER from June to August alone. Lufthansa has “taken out of the system” more than 3,000 domestic German and intra-European flights to its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich for the summer holiday season, as a spokesman said. At Eurowings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, hundreds of other flights are not going as planned in July. Airlines are eliminating themselves.
Then there is the climate debate. During the Corona period, did people console themselves with the growing shame of flying because they couldn’t travel anyway, or has flying shame actually become socially relevant as a reaction to the climate crisis? “More and more people are realizing that sustainability is an important aspect for them, both socially and ecologically,” says Martin Lohmann, summing up the results of the annual travel analysis. “More attention is already being paid to means of transport. If you are already up to mischief with the climate, the willingness to compensate increases.”
Sustainability is a condition under which a person would like to go on vacation, but ultimately will not be decisive for the decision of the product. Even a week-long trip to Bali is not a thing of the past. “At least not from insight. Then such journeys will become fewer because there are fewer options and the costs will rise,” says Lohmann. More important than hiring is that there is a change on the supply side in the flight space. So far: There is less capacity available and prices are rising.
Some low-cost airlines to the Mediterranean are considered a guarantee of social participation. But he is not only a big CO2 catapult, but also a profit-oriented absorber. Although the industry received billions in government aid during the Corona crisis and was able to take advantage of short-time work regulations, it has cut staff on a large scale. In particular, less qualified personnel from the logistics sector have migrated to parcel services. Also because “companies have not increased short-time work benefits,” says Taj’s Labor Minister Hubertus Heil.
“One week all inclusive, for two adults and two children, that starts at 2,000 euros. For most of our guests, the holidays are the biggest consumer spending of the year.”
Rand Dunhopt, TUI
The heat of 2022 reflects old behavior and chaotic transportation conditions. The standardized tourism that emerged after the end of World War II is now a natural part of our way of life. And it stands for the promise of sharing in the hard-earned prosperity in a society based on resource consumption. With increasingly personalized offers, there is something for everyone. The tourism industry is a successful model based on sustainable economic growth and limitless consumption of resources, more precisely: consumption and littering, concrete over beaches and climate damage. Beaches around the world have been augmented with large hotels and luxury all-inclusive resorts.
If visitor hotspots were overcrowded before the Corona lockdown and there was talk of overtourism everywhere, it was because low-cost airlines flew there, the middle class around the world used this infrastructure and the wealth of this middle class around the world grew. A tax on kerosene, general political travel regulations or fair prices for fair products are seen by many as a threat to their politically guaranteed rights.
So what about the paradigm shift in travel that has been an issue during the two years of the Corona crisis? Back when the main theme was still going on. “On the industry side, the Corona crisis has led to something like a wake-up call,” says tourism researcher Lohmann. “One only thought of development. People have become more cautious and appreciate their resilience to weather the next crisis. Because of this, many companies are more cautious than they used to be. That’s good for the industry.”
We are tourists too. We should ask for more. Quality is the order of the day, not only in terms of cleanliness, security and location, but also when it comes to arrival, local supplies and ecological products.
The rethinking towards more stability when traveling has at least begun. Longer, more thorough, less – that’s what the portal recommends for long-distance trips that are important for tourism. There are permanent offers from which the region benefits and also the organizers who offer them. These should be better known. Europe has culturally reinvented itself and strengthened the infrastructure for sustainable holidays – now easily accessible via apps, websites, forums and other communities. And down-to-earth travel by train is also increasingly being discussed and practiced, although there is a lot of pushing and shoving. This is the train from back then.