‘Less and fewer reasons not to travel’

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Travel has only been possible on a limited scale for several months, depending on the stage of the epidemic. Will everything be back to normal soon? Five theses for the year of travel 2022.

Traveling around the world was once normal, at least for people with a German passport. But that has been over for nearly two years. The epidemic is progressing, wave after wave. And now there is also the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, vacationers are looking forward to 2022*. Has travel finally become carefree?

No one can seriously say when the epidemic will subside and lose its horror. For now, it all looks as if Corona will also have a decisive impact on the next year of travel. Five theses with a look to the future.

Travel thesis 1: Uncertainty will remain for now

Will bookings return to pre-Corona levels in 2022? The German Travel Association (DRV) sees a question mark here. Corona numbers and the resulting political debates about possible closures continue to shape the behavior of vacationers. “People’s uncertainty almost automatically leads to reluctance to make reservations‘,” says DRV President Norbert Wiebig.

In addition, the evolution of the aura outside is absolutely unpredictable, the omicron variant is also shown. There is an unjustified impression: the numbers can rise again dramatically in a short time practically everywhere.

Corona: How do vacationers deal with it?

Basically, a package tour is much safer than an individually designed vacation. Clear legal rules apply. For example, if a flight is canceled or vacationers are stranded somewhere due to Corona, the organizer has to take care of the guests. If unforeseen and unusual circumstances preclude the vacation, the money is returned – at least in theory. Disputes often end in court.

If you don’t want to risk, you’d better book a slightly expensive flex tariff. Consumer advocates advise so. This means that a holiday can usually be canceled up to 14 days before departure without giving reasons. It’s also worth considering travel cancellation insurance. It can protect, for example, if a traveler tests positive shortly before the holiday.

Thesis 2: Travel remains relatively complicated

What are the vaccination requirements? Do I need a Corona test? How old can the test be on entry? What rules apply to children? These and other questions are likely to keep travelers busy when planning their holidays in 2022. Not everyone wants them. Tourism expert Professor Torsten Kirstgis is convinced: “Constantly changing rules is the biggest problem that prevents people from traveling. “

On the one hand, the specifications of the federal government should be mentioned here, such as what Quarantine regulations upon his return to Germany. For example, if a country becomes a changing region for the virus, such as South Africa and Great Britain recently, then local isolation is also the order of the day for vaccinated returnees. On the other hand, travel countries often change entry rules at short notice.

What can I do as a traveler?

Information is everything. Keeping up with the applicable rules on a regular basis will continue to be a part of it. You can get the advice of a specialist in a travel agency. Other than that, the German Foreign Office is the first point of contact for information on admission requirements. Again, if in doubt, book with the short-term cancellation option.

Hypothesis 3: There is a lot of catching up – and people are getting bolder

Michael Faber is general manager of tourism at consultancy Realizing Progress and predicts: “When the numbers start dropping, people will be encouraged and want to indulge their desire to travelFaber, who is also the owner of a travel agency, speculates that a large percentage of people are learning to live with the virus. “They don’t want to go on vacation in Germany for the third year in a row, they want to have a certain guarantee of the sun.”

Apparently, many people wishing to travel are already thinking beyond the rather gloomy winter. “A large part of what’s coming in right now New bookings – nearly 60 per cent – Already scheduled for next summer”, says DRV President Fiebig. Families associated with holiday dates in particular are already planning and booking their summer holidays. However, the total volume of bookings is currently not quite high.

During the epidemic, many vacationers prefer places to stay where they can be alone. © Philip von Dettfurth / D

Torsten Kirstjes is also optimistic: “The framework conditions for the normal state will be in place. “There will be fewer and fewer reasons not to travel,” says the professor from Jade University in Wilhelmshaven. It points to the relatively high vaccination rate in Europe and the possibility of vaccinating children. The Omikron variant puts presumed certainty to the test.

There’s also a psychological factor: “People will get used to the pandemic more than before,” says Kerstges. “You can also call it boring. “

What does this mean for me as a traveler?

If you already have a definite intention to travel, you should not wait too long – because then almost everyone will probably want to do so. “You can definitely book now,” Kerstjes says. 2021 travel trends likely to continue into 2022: Lots of vacations in Germany, bathing vacations around the Mediterranean, and rarely, long trips. Single forms of vacation should benefit again: vacation apartments, country vacations, camping, mobile home vacations, caravans, and smaller hotels, for example.

Thesis 4: Vacations should become more expensive on average

Flight and hotel capacities should initially remain low due to Corona. Kirstges estimates that if there is a lot of market demand due to loosening of regulations, it may later be difficult to get a cheap offer. “Realistic price increases Because costs have gone up.” He expects an impressive 10 to 20 per cent addition.

Camping boom in 2021 travel year © Frank Rumpenhorst / dpa

Michael Faber also expects prices to go up: “With the increasing demand, the year becomes a constant challenge to adjust capacities.“If a chain owns several homes in a vacation destination, the decision has to be made as to which of them to open. No provider is willing to put so many hotel rooms on the market that they are not filled and therefore ultimately paid for.

How do I handle this as a leave maker?

It can be helpful for families in particular to look for early booking discounts And take advantage of the offers as long as they are cheap.

Apart from that, the following also apply: Additional security costs, eg to secure cancellation. But hygiene procedures, flight planning and hotel capabilities also cost money. However, vacationers are willing to pay for this security. According to Michael Faber, for example, 95 percent of travelers book a Flex fare.

Hypothesis 5: Unvaccinated people should have difficulty

Some countries have long made a full corona vaccination a requirement for a holiday – without protection, for example in Thailand*, there are long quarantine days that make holiday trips seem pointless. In addition, participation in public life without vaccination is almost possible in many places.

Some tour operators such as Studiosus have long used the 2G (vaccination or recovery) rule. This also applies to many cruise providers: the ship as a closed system only for vaccinated people. “Many regulators will adhere to the 2G ruleProf. Kerstjes expects. Thus the industry will impart a certain amount of security. The effect: “I know my fellow passengers are protected and there are no health risks to me.”

beach in portugal
Nearly two years into the pandemic, many people are longing for a carefree vacation. © Vasco Sileo / dpa

Therefore, vaccination is not only the best protection against severe Covid-19 disease. It also makes travel easier in practice due to the many restrictions placed on non-vaccinators.

So what do you do?

The best thing to do is get vaccinated and update your vaccinations regularly. It is not only recommended by medical experts around the world, but also by the travel industry. “We will also have to live with the specific effects and measures related to the virus in the coming years,” says Norbert Weibig. “It is very important that we make progress in vaccinations here in Germany and around the world.”

Traveling with the rules
Test center at Munich Airport: Corona measures should determine travel in 2022. © Sven Hoepe / D

DRV pleads to go to the vaccination now. Fiebig is sure: “With more vaccinations, we get extra protection, we can enjoy more freedom faster and travel more responsibly again.” This doesn’t sound like much freedom to travel – but it does seem like an important step forward. (dpa) * Merkur.de is an offer by IPPEN.MEDIA.

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