“A strong economy and low unemployment were the main reasons behind the 2018 travel boom,” Ulrich Reinhardt, scientific head of the BAT Foundation for issues of the future, said on presenting the 35th German Tourism Analysis at the start of the Oohh Travel Fair underway in Hamburg from February 6-10, 2019. 62 per cent of all Germans packed a suitcase last year, more than ever before since the Tourism Analysis began. More than 3,000 respondents aged 14 and older were surveyed as a representative cross-section of the German population on their travel behaviour in personal, face-to-face interviews.
Elderly travelling increasingly
At almost 13 days, the average trip length was a little less the 2017 figure. The favourite destination remained Germany itself. Within Europe, Spain as before is the preferred top destination, followed by Italy, which is drawing an increasing number of German holidaymakers. The top three long-distance destinations in 2018 were Asia/Far East, North America and North Africa. The study revealed that price and a subjective feeling of safety were key to the choice of destination. Surprisingly, those older than 65 proved keen to travel whereas in 2017 “only” half of this group travelled, in 2018 almost two out of three – 61 per cent – did so.
Political clouds over enjoyment of travel
“Taking a holiday will remain the most popular form of enjoyment in 2019,” Professor Reinhardt believes. Half of all Germans are planning a trip this year. “But there are a few clouds on the horizon for the first time in years. Brexit and the trade conflict with the United States could have a negative influence on tourism, similar to fears of terrorist attacks or a looming recession.” Quite a lot thus depends on how the world changes over the months ahead, the futurologist believes. Hamburg on the map for urban trips thanks to the Elbphilharmonie. Reinhardt sees a continuing boom in cruise ship tourism and city breaks. While Hamburg has always been an attractive destination, the city is now really on the map for urban trippers, thanks to the Elbphilharmonie. “The Elbphilharmonie is really a piece of good fortune. Its attractions are likely to be retained over the years ahead,” he noted.
Summer, sun, beach and sea – but sustainably!
Sustainable destinations and ecotourism have been increasingly in vogue over recent years. For older travellers, a healthy environment, pure air and clean beaches are an important aspect. But the traditional holiday formula of “summer, sun, beach and sea” is undergoing a renaissance, Reinhardt has found. “Correspondingly, destinations offering a sunny and relaxing holiday in healthy natural surroundings are part of the future.”
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