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Corona puts new damper on German tourism inbound until 2024

An updated study by Tourism Economics on behalf of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) suggests that the recovery phase for German tourism inbound is likely to be longer than previously assumed and that pre-crisis level will not be reached until 2024. It also revealed that recovery will be driven by leisure travel.

German Tourism
Dresden, Germany

The effects of the corona pandemic are shaping German tourism longer than previously assumed. This is the conclusion reached by the update of the study by Tourism Economics, commissioned by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), which analyses the impact of the pandemic on Germany’s 19 most important source markets.

At the beginning of June, analysts were still forecasting a year-on-year decline of 46.2 million in international overnight stays in Germany for 2020 as a whole and a drop in tourist consumer spending of 17.8 billion euros. 

Based on the latest available data for German tourism inbound as of the beginning of October, Tourism Economics now expects the number of overnight stays to fall by 51.2 million to 38.1 million and a loss in tourism consumer spending of 18.7 billion euros.

According to current calculations, only a recovery to 86.4 percent of the pre-crisis level of 2019 for German tourism is predicted for the end of 2023. At that time, the June forecast was still predicting a full recovery over the next four years.

“Especially the current situation in important European source markets for the German Incoming tourism and developments in German cities make it clear that the recovery phase will probably take years,” explains Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the GNTB. “This makes it all the more important now to use anti-cyclical marketing to retain customers in the long term and to continue to make the brand strengths of Destination Germany visible.

Romit Theophilus, Head of the German National Tourist Office, India  adds for the source market India: “Despite setbacks from the COVID-19 crisis GNTO, India prepares to bounce back in the later part of the year by organising a series of events with Trade to promote Germany’s appeal as a Travel destination”.

Faster recovery for European source markets

The detailed forecast of the regions of origin of potential travellers to Germany reinforces the basic statement made in June that European source markets are more likely to recover than overseas markets. The order of the largest source markets for German tourism inbound remains the same in the Corona crisis: In 2020, the most important source market for incoming travel will continue to be the Netherlands, followed by Switzerland, the USA, the UK and Austria.

However, the longer-term forecasts for demand from abroad are much more cautious than in June of this year. According to the latest analyses, Europe will fall short of expectations in 2023 with a minus of 9.4 percent in international overnight stays, and demand from overseas will remain well below expectations at minus 24.6 percent negative range. 

According to this, the overall balance for 2023 would also remain negative at minus 13.6 percent, and reaching the pre-crisis level does not appear realistic again until 2024.

Business travel market faces major challenges

The updated analyses by Tourism Economics basically confirm the previous assumption that the business travel segment is recovering more slowly than leisure travel.

 For the year 2023, the forecasts for the business travel segment are currently significantly worse than the recovery for leisure travel, with a minus of 26 percent in arrivals than the recovery for leisure travel at plus five percent.

Germany maintains competitive position

According to current analyses, Germany occupies an excellent position in the competition among European destinations during the crisis years. For 2023, Tourism Economics forecasts second place for Germany after Spain and ahead of Italy, France and Great Britain.

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