Strong demand for summer vacation 2018

Strong plus in 2017 – The 2018 trends: Greece is booming – Turkey is recovering – Cruises are growing

Frankfurt, 28 February 2018 – The Germans’ desire to travel is undiminished: in 2017 the German citizens spent a total of EUR 64.7 billion for their vacation and private trips in advance. This corresponds to a plus of 8.2% compared to the previous year, according to the current analyses of the market research company GfK for the German Travel Association (DRV). These overall market numbers include all expenses of travellers from Germany for package tours and individually booked trips from one overnight stay onwards. “The growth in sales revenues is significantly higher than was to be expected after the first projections in autumn,” DRV President Norbert Fiebig comments on this extremely positive stocktaking of the travel year 2017 with great satisfaction. “Germans have travelled more and have also spent more money for their vacation,” Fiebig adds. The growth drivers were in particular cruises and foreign trips. Measured in terms of expenses, vacations by the sea with a plus of 14% and city trips with a 12% plus show the greatest growth.

The start of 2018 has likewise been good according to the GfK numbers: supported by an extremely good consumption climate with a high readiness to spend and a low unemployment rate, the advance booking sales revenues for the summer are in the German travel sales industry 18% higher versus the comparable prior year period. “This means that so far significantly more trips have been booked than last year – and this has also been the case clearly earlier than in the past,” Fiebig explains. The increase in sales revenues applies to all bookings for the summer season up to the end of January 2018. “The trend towards early booking persists also during the first weeks of this year during which the travel plans for the summer vacation are traditionally made and the tour operators grant early booking reductions,” the DRV President stressed at the presentation of the economic development of 2017 and the trends for 2018.  

“The travel bookings received so far are good reasons to be confident that the 2018 demand for vacations will be particularly high and that we can anticipate a further growth in sales revenues for the entire tourism year,” Norbert Fiebig stated in the run up to the world’s largest travel trade show ITB Berlin which takes place from 7-11 March. “We assume that the Mediterranean destinations such as Spain and Greece will again be the most popular air travel package destinations,” Fiebig forecasts. “But the growth course charted by Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey will likewise continue in 2018 according to the bookings received so far,” Fiebig anticipates.

Review and outlook: the trends for the 2018 summer vacation

With a 30% rise in sales revenues Greece moved forward last year to rank two – after Spain - of the most popular foreign destinations of Germans concerning tour operator trips. This successful course continues in an -impressive manner this year with high double-digit growth rates. Spain remained in 2017 the most popular foreign vacation destination of the Germans concerning tour operator trips both in terms of total sales revenues and guest volume. However, the tourism regions had different developments: growth rates in the lower single digit area were achieved by the Canary Islands and the Spanish mainland, the Balearic Islands lost, by contrast, in terms of sales revenues. More than every fourth euro of sales revenues, that Germans invested in vacations, went to Spanish destinations according to the 2017 GfK numbers. For the 2018 summer vacation bookings to Spain currently show a sales revenue plus of 4.5%; the Canary Islands rise by 7% and the Balearic Islands are up by 3%.

A strong growth was also recorded by the north African vacation countries Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in 2017, who were able to continue their good development for advance bookings. Whilst sales revenues rose for Egypt last year by 55%, the country on the Nile is now already at a 64% plus for the summer vacation 2018. And as far as Turkey bookings are concerned, the trough seems to have been passed after two years of very strong declines in visitors and sales revenues. In 2017 the country had dropped to the third rank amongst the preferences of vacationers from Germany – after Spain and Greece. “For 2018 we see a comeback of Turkey,” Fiebig stresses. Bookings have significantly increased for weeks but despite the doubling of booking and sales revenues for the summer of 2018 versus the comparable prior year period, they are still significantly below the peak values of 2015.

Positive growth is recorded for tour operator bookings with plus 33% for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had already slightly increased last year.
The sales revenues of long haul trips so far maintain their good and high prior year level; the individual destinations are, however, showing quite different developments. Declines in sales revenues are currently recorded for the Caribbean, in particular Cuba. The most popular long haul destination USA had already recorded a 17% drop in sales revenues in 2017. For the 2018 summer season another drop in sales revenues of currently 20% is recorded for tour operator bookings. Growth rates are, by contrast, reported by South Africa, Kenya, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Thailand, the most popular region in Asia.
In 2017 the boom for cruises continued – both for sea and river cruises. New and larger boats extended the capacities and stimulated demand on the rivers and the sea. This trend is also apparent for the travel year 2018. “The success story continues,” says DRV President Fiebig.

Results for 2017: sales revenues of tour operators and travel agents increase
Apart from the development of the destinations the final numbers for the tourism year 2016/17 (ending on 31 October 2017) are now available with the business numbers for the tour operator and travel agency market: the growth in sales revenues is significantly higher than originally communicated during the first projections in early December. After the processing of all data sources, sales revenues on the tour operator market grew from EUR 31.2 billion in 2016 by 8% to now EUR 33.7 billion. For the entire travel agency market sales revenues increased by EUR 1.2 billion to EUR 26.4 billion in 2017 according to calculations by DRV.