Larry Brain - Oct 19, 2020
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How does Corona influence the desire to travel in Austria and Germany? A recent study of the Research Association for Vacation and Travel (FUR) attempted to answer this question on the citizens’ travel mood in the context of the German Travel Analysis and the Institute for Tourism and Spa Research in Northern Europe (NIT).

According to the online study which approached 1,500 respondents in Austria and 2,000 people in Germany, 58% of the Austrians want to travel this autumn or winter and/or most probably, two-thirds of them want to travel at the national level. Among the Germans, it is 55%, which plan a journey in the next half year.

What Slows Down the Vacation Planning

At the same time, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic is great. Almost every second respondent has concerns about catching COVID-19 at their vacation destination or in trains, planes, and buses. There is also uncertainty about the entry regulations or the local corona rules. Most of all, the respondents are worried about getting their money back in case of a cancellation and that they could be put into quarantine. As a result, general conditions and restrictions have a greater impact on travel behavior and travel mood than individual fear of the virus.

These uncertainties lead to a change in booking behavior. 52% of respondents in Austria and 39% in Germany say they would wait and see how things develop and book at very short notice. Every third person plans to book only in the last four weeks before the travel date. And just under a quarter of those surveyed intend to start looking for inspiration for a travel destination only within these four weeks.

Individual Afflictions Caused by Corona

22% of Germans say that they suffer financial losses due to Corona. 15% are affected by short-time work, and 5% fear for their jobs. The picture in Austria is similar. However, the majority of those surveyed – 58% of Germans and 65% of Austrians – say they can afford a vacation trip and have time for it. Compared to the last survey in May 2020, the desire of Austrians for vacation has also increased significantly - from 49 to 60 %. The trend in Germany is correspondingly positive. People are in travel mood and want to go on vacation. Ultimately it will depend on the general conditions whether they can do so.

What Provides Security to the Guests

The study also asked what the guests regard as particularly important when booking. Top-notations here are a money-back guarantee in case the trip cannot be carried out as well as generous cancellation conditions. Also, compliance with the hygiene measures in the establishments and the security to return home despite border closures or flight cancellations are of great importance to the guests.

The survey shows high approval ratings by the bank for all booking criteria asked. There is not one risk minimization measure that can give the guests security. All measures are relevant to booking.

Hiking and Skiing Are the Top Themes

With a view of the autumn and winter season, it becomes apparent that the topics hiking, wellness, recreation and of course winter sports, but also winter experiences without sporting activities are particularly popular among domestic vacationers. For the German and Austria vacationers, the winter sports affinity is more pronounced: winter sports vacation is the top designation, followed by hiking vacation and recovery/relaxation vacation.

A Look Ahead to Summer 2021

The study also takes a look at vacation plans for the coming summer. For the period from April to September 2021, 80% of Austrians state that they want to travel safely or in the most likely event. Barely one in two plans to take a vacation at home. A vacation in spring/summer is planned by 68% of Germans. For autumn and winter, people are still sceptical about the possibility of a vacation. For the summer, the majority assume that they will be able to resume their 'normal' travel behavior.

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