June was the first full month of this year when the hotels and restaurants in Bavaria, Germany, were allowed to open again. The start was eagerly awaited in the industry, but Bavarian tourism is currently far from the pre-pandemic numbers.
According to experts from the sector, the number of bookings is at a solid level, but cancellations and uncertainties are still a big issue. Generally, good occupancy rates are expected for the summer holidays, but there is some scepticism for the time after that.
The reason for this is that the Bavarian tourism professionals no longer believe that hotels will be able to stay open during the autumn. The fact that the number of Covid-19 infections is rising again in some regions of Europe is a big concern for hoteliers in Bavaria.
If there were to be another lockdown in Germany, or just in Bavaria, the effect would be ‘catastrophic’, according to experts from the Bavarian tourism sector. Especially since business is starting up ‘a little more hesitantly’ than last year.
Major Losses during the Pandemic
In this context, it must be noted that in Upper Bavaria, Munich and other cities suffered heavy sales losses due to the pandemic. Munich alone is struggling with a decrease of 60 % in overnight stays. Last summer the occupancy rate was only 40 %, while in previous years the rate was 70 %.
The main reason for this, according to the Upper Bavarian Tourist Association, is the lack of international guests and business trips. Munich and other large cities will thus take somewhat longer to recover.
With regards to the month of June, the first month after the lockdown, it was rather poor for Bavarian tourism, with sales having decreased by 32 % compared to 2019. Generally, in 2020 overnight stays in Bavaria fell from around 101 million to 60 million. In addition to the financial worries of hoteliers, there is a lack of staff, seeing as many temporary workers have ‘migrated’ to other industries.
For this reason, the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) has called for the government to exclude the industry from a potential lockdown during the autumn. Moreover, the association has formulated a catalog of measures and is calling for a long-term opening plan from the federal government.
Not All So Gloomy?
Nevertheless, some sector representatives are cautiously optimistic. According to the Upper Bavarian Tourist Association, a positive trend and increasing demand has been noted, with an increasing influx particularly noticeable in rural regions.
Moreover, Munich city representatives predict that the desire for city trips will not diminish, since cities offer a unique experience that is desirable amongst the population.
But in the meantime, stakeholders in the industry, from mountain train and boat operators to the operators of castles or other cultural heritage spots, support Dehoga’s initiative and are awaiting the developments in the sector in the coming months, hoping that another lockdown will not thwart their efforts.