Corona pandemic, fear of war and high energy prices: the Rhineland-Palatinate’s desire to travel remains. But also uncertainty.
Easter is coming soon – and the yearning for summer, sun, and travel is growing. According to the Research Association Holidays and Travel (FUR), in a survey early in the year, before the start of the Ukraine war, 61 percent of those surveyed were planning a vacation trip this year. Last year it was just 49 percent. 28 percent already have a fixed target. But the fear of Corona did not subside a bit when the fear of war was spreading.
According to FUR, disasters and wars in the past have not changed the basic desire for vacation. However, according to tour operators and owners of travel agencies, it is not yet possible to predict how the Russian aggressive war in Ukraine will affect demand.
With Putin’s war, travel reservations stopped
Everything else will be a “crystal ball reading” for now, says Anke Budde, owner of a travel agency in Bretzenheim/Nahe, when asked by SWR. The uncertain situation in Europe also worries their customers. It is currently difficult to plan a completely carefree and hassle-free trip.
Budde reported that bookings went well for her in January and February. The big rush hasn’t materialized yet. The work of Easter has just begun. With the outbreak of the Ukraine war, a stagnation was recorded.
So Budde hopes to make short-term reservations in the summer. After all, the main travel season in Germany is still summer. The main travel destinations remain Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal. But Germany also plays a major role as a travel destination – including the Moselle and Nahe regions. In general, there is – with regard to holidays in Germany – an increase in booking numbers compared to the previous year.
Lack of hotels, shortage of skilled workers – vacations become more expensive
However, summer holidays are likely to cost a lot this year: organizers have reported rising costs for car rentals and overnight stays in hotels or holiday homes in Germany.
In general, vacations are getting more expensive, Bode says. There is less capacity, and many hotels would not have survived the Corona pandemic, there simply were no hosts. The shortage of skilled workers is also a problem. Many employees migrated to other industries. All this makes the vacation trip more expensive than in previous years. And money isn’t too meager for most people either. The epidemic left its mark there, for example by working for a short time.
Supply and Demand: Campers and Expensive Rental Cars
There are also significant increases in rental car and campground rates. “Aside from the high demand, the supply of rental cars is also limited due to the current car shortage,” explains Ralph Schiller, President of FTI Group. Therefore, the prices for automatic car reservations may be higher than in previous years.
The war in Ukraine is causing energy prices to rise
Putin’s war against Ukraine may be one of the latest travel price hikes, driving up energy prices. They still don’t feel much of it, says Stefan Baumert, head of Germany at travel group TUI. For existing bookings, it excludes fuel surcharges this summer. The situation is different from existing bookings: higher daily rates and lower last minute deals are more conceivable.
Lufthansa is already preparing its customers for higher ticket prices. Important factors are the price of oil, rising fees at airports and air traffic control.
Corona rules, current numbers and everything related to vaccination: you can find the most important developments related to the Corona virus in Rhineland-Palatinate here on our live blog.
And then there is still Corona
When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, the Consumer Advice Center in Rhineland-Palatinate recommends booking with as much flexibility as possible. You’re in a better position if you can freely decide two weeks before your trip begins, which country to travel to — or not to travel to, says Julia Gerhards of SWR’s Consumer Advice Center. Unlike before, there are now so-called flexible tariffs in the travel industry. This is a huge advantage for consumers. With travel cancellation insurance, you can also cover your own risks if you get sick before the trip.
However, the pandemic is only playing a minor role in travel bookings, says travel agency owner Budde. She says most people can live well with the restrictions currently in place. Comfortable posture prevails. She is convinced: “We will have a great tourist summer.”