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Germany views 2021 as year of transition for international travel demand

Germany is readying for a year of transition in 2021 with a gradual recovery in international demand anticipated – including significant inbound visitation expected from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the German National Tourism Board (GNTB).

Utilising market research institutes and 2020 figures, the GNTB predicts keen travellers already have their bucket list destinations lined up for when international travel is when international travel restrictions are eased.

“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 Destination Germany brand, and the increasing willingness of international guests to travel,” Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the GNTB, said. “The industry has adapted and created clear health and safety measures to provide additional traveller confidence once mass travel resumes. Along the adapting customer journey, many processes were digitised, extensive hygiene concepts developed and tourist offers were aligned to 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, inbound tourism to Germany suffered significant drops in 2020. According to preliminary information from the Federal Statistical Office, 32 million foreign overnight stays in accommodations with at least 10 beds and campsites were registered, resulting in a decrease of 64.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

Perspective for 2021: Gradual recovery of international demand

GNTO remains optimistic, particularly following research carried out by YouGov which revealed that 48 per cent of UAE residents and 46 per cent of Saudi Arabia residents plan to travel abroad in 2021.

Travel for ‘scenic places’ is at the top of the reasons travel, according to 45 per cent of the YouGov survey respondents; Germany should be top of mind for travellers with its plethora of stunning castles, forests and mountains awaiting inbound visitors.

“Despite the ongoing lockdown phases and travel restrictions, there is reason for cautious optimism. In view of the experiences of the past year, we expect an increase in travel from the GCC, especially in the summer months, as restrictions ease,” Hedorfer added. “We continue to assume that private travel will recover faster than business travel, which will be increasingly characterised 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 a sustainable orientation of tourism in Germany remain a prerequisite for a market recovery.”


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