Düsseldorf Despite Corona, the travel industry expects high demand for 2022. But you need to carefully consider rebooking options. Mallorca and North Sea holidays are popular.
How will the holiday in 2022 be? “People have a lot to do with catching up,” says Frederic Kuhn of the Kiel Institute for Billiards and Tourism Research in Northern Europe (NIT). A previously unpublished NIT survey showed a clear trend: “People want to spend more money on vacation than before. You feel like taking a trip in 2022. And they will make time for vacations.” However, they also wanted flexibility. Which makes vacationing by car popular. And the relatively accessible destinations are especially popular, as they were in 2021,” says Kuhn.
Expert forecasts confirm what most industry managers believe: the current fear of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus will surely weaken the travel industry again by March. But starting with the Easter holiday, which won’t start until April 9, 2022, reluctance to travel should decrease.
Expectations For 2022 as a whole, Germany’s airports expect 72 percent of passenger numbers in the pre-crisis year 2019. Holiday flights will increase somewhat, long-haul flights and business flights will be slower. In the summer, holiday traffic in Europe could reach 90 percent compared to 2019. “I expect that we will be able to return to the pre-crisis level in terms of capacity in the summer of 2022,” says Tui President Fritz Joussen. The main reason is that more and more citizens are getting vaccinated, while vacations are becoming difficult for unvaccinated people. Eurowings chief Jens Bischof wants about 100 aircraft to be used in the summer – about 80 percent of previous capacity.
Target areas According to NIT, destinations on the Baltic and North Seas are the most popular, as in previous years, as well as the Alpine region. According to Tui, the Balearic Islands, including Mallorca, will, as always, be the most important destination for tours in the summer of 2022. It is followed by the Greek islands, the Canary Islands and the Spanish Atlantic coast (Costa de la Luz). Tui also anticipates a lot of demand for holidays in Hurghada (Egypt) and on the Turkish Riviera.
Book now or wait? “After more and more travel warnings, flexibility is becoming very important for vacationers,” says expert Kohn. The industry has responded and is often offering more flexible rebooking options than before. Alltours from Düsseldorf offers a free rebooking option for many destinations up to 21 or 14 days prior to departure until January 31. Tui offers early booking discounts. “You can use this savings to pay the extra cost of our flexible option,” says a company spokesperson. The test shows: for a one-week trip for two to Cala Ratjada, there is an early bird discount of €300 for the end of April. The additional cost of being able to cancel up to 15 days in advance is €49 on the €1250 rate. At DER-Touristik, second in the industry, the flexible surcharge is usually €59. Most customers use the option, the group explains.
Is it worth it? For popular destinations, early booking may be wise, also because some hotels will close in 2021. On the other hand, customers need to be careful. “You should take a look at the exact terms of such flexible tariffs,” says Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the Consumer Advisory Center at NRW. Sometimes providers only allow rebooking and won’t guarantee money back. “A look at the small print helps.” On the other hand: If a destination is closed due to Corona, the package tour is covered anyway.