After almost three years of the Corona pandemic, Germans are rushing to their vacation destinations. A study suggests that 2023 could even become a record travel year for German tourism.
Despite the high energy prices and high inflation, 2023 could become a record travel year for Germans. Even now, 60% of people in Germany had planned a vacation trip of at least five days, according to the 39th Tourism Analysis of the BAT Foundation for Future Issues.
Only 20% are already certain not to travel this year, and another 20% are still undecided.
The frequency of travel in 2023 is therefore likely to be at least at the pre-Corona level - if not even higher, the study suggests. For the study, the GfK institute surveyed 3,000 women and men aged 18 to 74 online in December 2022 and January 2023.
Booking Numbers Are on the Rise Again
According to the latest data from analysts TDA, Germans are still keen to travel. December 2022 was an exceptionally strong booking month for travel agencies and traditional online travel portals. Meanwhile, the 2023 summer season as a whole showed a 44% increase in sales compared to the previous year, with the gap to the pre-Corona summer of 2019 continuing to melt away. The 2022/23 winter season has already reached 85% of its pre-Corona level.
According to the BAT study, there have been some shifts in destinations compared to previous years, which were characterized by Corona restrictions. Although Germany remains by far the most popular vacation destination – 28% of those wishing to travel wanted to vacation on the country's coasts and in the mountains - the local travel market is losing share. According to the study, the Mediterranean countries will benefit from this, especially Spain and Italy, which can already prepare for numerous guests. Austria, on the other hand, will have to be careful not to fall behind. In general, there is great interest in long-distance travel - provided it is affordable.
Trend toward Longer Vacations
The surge in vacation travel was already apparent last year. According to the survey, a total of 58% of people in Germany took a vacation trip of at least five days in 2022 - up from 37% and 49% in the Corona years 2020 and 2021, respectively.
German citizens also stayed at their vacation destination for an average of 13 days, almost two days longer than in the previous year. A similarly high value was last achieved in the early 2000s. The trend toward longer vacations was evident across all destinations. The average length of stay increased from 8.6 to 9.1 days for domestic vacations, from 12.8 to 13.9 days for vacations in other European countries and from 19.3 to 21 days for long-distance travel, according to the study.
Around 40% of people in Germany will stay in their own country for their vacations in 2022. That is around 10% less than in 2021, but still significantly more than 10 or 20 years ago, when the figures were 33% and 37% respectively. Most preferred is the north or south of the country.
"More than one in four travelers said they spent their vacation on the North Sea or Baltic Sea coast, while one in five vacationers spent the most beautiful time of the year in Bavaria," the study says. According to the study, the most popular German states were Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg - although only Schleswig-Holstein was able to maintain its level of visitors.
Austria Was a Loser of the Giant Season 2022
Without travel bans and with significantly fewer Corona requirements, Germans again increasingly set off for other European countries. According to the data, they traveled particularly frequently to Spain (8.2%), Italy (6.5%) and Turkey (5.3%).
The loser in the 2022 travel season was Austria. Compared to the pre-Corona year of 2019 (4.2%) and the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 (5.7% and 3.3%, respectively), the share of German vacationers in the Alpine republic fell to 2.8% last year. For the first time, more German citizens thus spent their main vacation in the Benelux countries (3.0%) than in Austria.
Long-distance travel made a comeback after the removal of most Corona restrictions. According to the data, 13% of sun-seekers opted for such a trip - the third highest figure since reunification. The most popular regions were North America, North Africa and the Far East.
Vacationers also spent quite a lot on their vacations. According to the analysis, every German citizen spent more than 1,350 euros on their main vacation last year - 250 euros more than in 2021 and an all-time high.
This was due to the length of stay, but also to rising daily costs, which in 2022 had risen from an average of 98 to 106 euros compared with the previous year. "Never in the history of the tourism analysis - that is, in 39 years - has more money been spent on traveling than last year," said Prof. Ulrich Reinhardt, the foundation's scientific director.