Demand for Greek destinations remains high among German travelers for the 2021 summer season, German Travel Association (DRV) President Norbert Fiebig said during the opening press conference of the ITB Berlin NOW 2021 Virtual event on Tuesday.
According to Fiebig, bookings for the 2021 summer season are slowly increasing with German travelers remaining loyal to Mediterranean destinations such as Greece and Turkey.
“New bookings are currently at 26 percent compared to the previous year… Destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Greece and Turkey are in demand, even though at a low level up to now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the booking volumes for the Easter holiday remain low at only 13 percent of new bookings, according to DRV’s president. Therefore, the restart of tourism is expected in the weeks after Easter and towards the summer months.
“If we manage to reach 50 percent of the turnover generated in 2019, it would be a success,” he added.
Greece a top summer destination for Germans in 2020
Despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Greece remained a top summer destination for German holidaymakers in 2020.
“Among the classic ‘sun and beach’ destinations, Greece recorded the highest bookings [in 2020] according to travel data. However, even the Greeks experienced a 55 percent drop in turnover,” Fiebig said during the ITB Berlin 2021 event.
Another popular Mediterranean destination for summer 2020 was Turkey but the country also saw heavy losses up to 77 percent, he added.
In addition, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland experienced a sharp decrease in turnover.
Heavy losses for the German travel industry
Meanwhile, the German travel industry experienced losses of 80 percent in 2020, compared to the previous year, due to Covid-19.
According to data presented by DRV’s president, travel expenditure dropped by more than half , while package travel, which is very popular in Germany, also suffered severe loss.
The share of organized travel dropped to 39 percent in 2020 from 51 percent in 2019, as a result of the pandemic, the quarantine and travel restrictions imposed worldwide.
This led many Germans to domestic travel, making Germany their favorite destination for 2020.
Safety is key
Looking ahead, Fiebig said that safety was clearly the key for the recovery of the tourism sector.
During the ITB Berlin press conference, he urged policymakers to take immediate action towards tourism recovery.
“Policymakers have to take action, finally and urgently. They must focus on strategies that will gradually ease constraints on freedom – especially on travel – in a responsible manner. It is highly significant to make international mobility possible again,” he said.
According to Fiebig, this could be possible through the acceleration of vaccinations and the adoption of a coherent testing strategy in the source tourism markets as well as in the tourism destinations that receive visitors.
The ITB Berlin NOW 2021 Virtual event opened its doors on March 9 and will run through to March 12.