Hope for more freedom of travel in summer 2021

Nuremberg, 3rd of March 2021 – January is traditionally the strongest booking month of the year on the German market, with over two-thirds of sales usually accounted for by the upcoming summer season. As a result, this year's declines are weighing heavily due to the current lockdown. For comparison: in January 2020, holiday trips with a turnover of almost 2.4 billion euros were booked by travel agencies and on online travel portals, compared to just under 300 million euros in January 2021. The coming summer season 2021 shows at that stage a cumulative drop in sales of 75 percent in German travel sales up to the end of January. The first significant increase in bookings has not been measured until mid-February. The hopes of the German citizens are on a trip to start at Mid/End of May. The most booked holiday destination for summer 2021 is Greece.

Lockdown, travel restrictions and quarantine regulations significantly hinder travel bookings of German citizens. The booking volume for packaged trips or pre organized holiday trips by a tour operator has been at a level of no more than one-fifth of the usual revenue for weeks. With the hope of early easing and increasing vaccination rates, bookings in mid-February have been growing to 26 percent of the previous year's volume – a small glimmer of hope. Booked by the end of January 2021, travel sales are missing a cumulative total of more than three billion euros in holiday travel sales for the 2021 summer season. However, we see that positive signals have a direct impact on booking behaviour. The desire to finally be able to travel again is great. In this respect, we assume that travel bookings will visibly increase as soon as more vacation trips are possible again, ”explains Alexandra Weigand, Director Sales & Consulting at Travel Data + Analytics. 

Greece most booked holiday destination in summer 2021

As of the booking status at the end of January 2021, every important holiday destination and every travel product segment is showing high double-digit sales losses for holiday trips organized as a package or in modules compared to the pre-Corona level. Among the summer travel bookings received so far with a sales volume of around 25 percent of the previous year's level, Greece is by far the most booked holiday destination in 2021. The sales volume currently even exceeds the total booking volume for Spain, something unknown in the German travel market, so far. In terms of sales, Greece accounts for 23.6 percent of booking sales in travel sales for tour operator trips (excluding cruises), while Spain accounts for 21.2 percent. Splitting Spain into the three regional target areas of the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and the Spanish mainland, Turkey moves up as the top 2 travel destination for the coming summer. Based on local holiday regions, the Turkish Riviera with Antalya as the main airport is even holding its own as the summer favourite travel destination of German holidaymakers for tour operators, as in the previous year. After a total failure last summer, Egypt is also appearing again on the Germans destination map. 

The travel bookings for Summer 21 received so far indicate that many Germans are hoping to spend a carefree summer holiday like in pre-Corona times. Nearby destinations in Germany and Austria, which are booked individually to a large extent, are also becoming significantly more important for tour operators compared to the previous year. 

Most booked countries and local holiday regions summer 2021 (ranking by turnover)

 Top 10 Countries Summer 21 Top 10 local destinations Summer 21
4Balearic Islands4Kos
8Italy8Malé (Maledives)
9Mainland Spain9Gran Canaria
Basis: Tour operator tours in turnover booked in travel agencies and on the classic online travel portals

Early bird, long-distance travel and cruise bookings are on the rise

In January 2021, a good quarter of booking sales in stationary and online travel sales were accounted for by the holiday season in July / August and the autumn months of September / October. The number of early bookers for the travel period from November 2021 increases from 18 percent over the first weeks of February to 25 percent. "The holiday willing people are currently planning either hopefully for the main travel time in midsummer or, to be on the safe side, for later travel times," sums up Weigand. Early booking travel segments such as cruises and long-distance travel benefit from this. Compared to the previous month of December, both cruise and long-distance travel bookings have increased significantly.

About Travel Data + Analytics

Travel Data + Analytics (TDA) took over in spring 2019 the travel sales panel run by the Nuremberg market research company GfK since 2004. After the GfK data had been migrated to a new IT landscape, Travel Intelligence was set up as an independent solution with a self-learning database and associated analysis tool. The basis remains the booking data from stationary travel agencies and online portals that offer tour operator products. The needs of tourism companies on a modern controlling tool and evolving, increasingly dynamic questions can thus be mapped reliably and promptly, without giving up the core of a market-representative method that is consistently comparable over time.

Statements about the coming summer season with the travel months from May to October 2021 represent snapshots of the current booking status at the end of January 2021.

Further information: Alexandra Weigand, alexandra.weigand@traveldataanalytics.de
phone: +49 (0)911 951 510 03