Travel has changed

Pictures of deserted german north and east sea beaches during the corona crisis belong to the past. Since the recent relaxations, the region’s travel agencies have recorded many bookings – especially inland.

"At the moment, germany and austria are high on the list, but also denmark", female mario kragler of the thuringian-french travel agency (TFR) in lichtenfels. "Other destinations are sought rather sporadically – if, then mainly greece, italy or spain." One of germany’s favorite travel destinations, bulgaria, on the other hand, is currently less popular with customers, says the office manager. "I suspect many people may lack confidence in the health care system there and the implementation of safety measures." Spain, portugal and italy are more "european in outlook. At least one pattern emerges: families with children are generally more cautious, while singles or people traveling alone tend to be more relaxed about the situation.

Vacation apartments are in demand

There is also a clear trend in the type of accommodation: vacation apartments and vacation homes, where travelers are "among themselves" are currently booked in preference to larger hotels. However, almost everyone prefers to travel by car.

Mario kragler, however, points to the limits of "germany tourism": "at some point, however, the capacity limits in germany are also reached." Many people therefore prefer a small greek island to an overcrowded german beach, he said from customer interviews.

Since travel agencies were arguably one of the most suffering industries at the start of the corona crisis, they are now unable to make up for lost revenue – despite a rough number of bookings. At the same time, she said, the consultation process is rough in many respects: on the one hand, many people are unsettled. What is allowed? How are the safety inspections implemented?? Can i rely on my itinerary and means of transport? What if a second corona wave comes??, are just some of the questions that currently have to be answered in the travel agencies. In principle, however, all countries have high requirements with regard to the corona safety inspections. This applies both to tourists coming to germany and to germans vacationing abroad. All must implement the current hygiene standards. The airlines, for example, are obliged to implement their own guidelines, as are the hotels. How, for example, the control of the paths on the basis of the distance requirement runs or at which places disinfectant stands are set up, is subject to the individual implementation of the acceptance of the companies. The obligation to wear a mask in all public areas, on the other hand, applies almost everywhere.

Plexiglas at the reception

However, mario kragler does not see any impairment of the recreational effect for his customers: "you don’t have to wear the masks all day in the room or at the pool, for example. It’s more about keeping the distance at the pool", explains the office manager. Most reception desks will also use a plexiglass screen for protection "but that’s the way it is in many industries in germany today". Mario kragler now takes wearing a mask for granted: "for many people, it’s like a wallet or a key – something you always have with you. One can come to terms with that."

He reminds us to see the positive side of such a situation: for example, the standard of hygiene has improved at the buffet, where guests can select and be served their own individual dishes in front of a mostly unchangingly coarse menu. Mario kragler remains positive, although he has one rough wish: "it would be good if there were fixed guidelines for travel – clearly defined and binding for many countries and areas. Also for the respective organizers, who usually have to react to changes at very short notice."

Also at the "travel island in coburger strabe in lichtenfels, bookings are slowly starting to pick up again – here, too, with a clear tendency for customers to travel to the store themselves. "That’s certainly a bit of safety thinking, especially from families with children", female jennifer wifling. This is also reflected in the increased number of reservations in the north and south of germany, and the fact that customers are also drawn to italy and austria.

Beside vacation apartments or apartments with tendency to the small one the "travel island" registers also an increasing number of farm holidays. "Many customers may not know that it is possible to book something like this with us and that it is usually cheaper." There are also rebookings by people who would rather stay within germany during these times. "But others also think: we have to get out right now. This is the case for single people as well as for seniors. This is really a matter of attitude."

For flights in the EU area, the stay is reduced to a shorter duration. For the winter months, many customers have already booked long-distance trips.

One thing is certain: travel has changed. Jennifer wifling feels that long journeys are being avoided. Rather, the customers show interest in several small trips. Be prepared to stagger your vacation, sprinkle in a city break now and then and visit many regions. She also observes that bulgaria, which was a very popular travel destination last year, is lagging behind this year: "the price-performance ratio for this country is unbeatable. We also have bookings for this, but many are cautious and may not want to get on a plane or feel safer in spain or similar countries", observes the owner of the "travel island".

For those who are still in disagreement, many tour operators have accommodating cancellation conditions. Others, on the other hand, hold on to tatted travel dates. What is often possible are travel vouchers for unfulfilled stays or rebooking of trips for the following year.

Nevertheless, the current situation is not satisfactory for the travel agencies. Travel agencies, tour operators and tourism professionals demonstrated in frankfurt and berlin a few weeks ago. Although most customers are very understanding, says jennifer wifling, she feels let down by the government: "I think little is being done for our industry. The rescue package is not enough by a long shot. If we don’t have bookings, we don’t make money. This is a thirsty time for us." She knows many travel agencies that have already had to close due to this problem. But aren’t most of the bookings made on the internet in the last few years anyway?? "Many people inform themselves online. It’s actually good to know what you liked and disliked beforehand." The step to booking is then mostly done on the spot in the travel agency, especially for rough trips.

No matter whether it is the north sea, spain or overseas: the recreational value of a trip is not lost due to the corona regulations. Many things, such as the compulsory wearing of masks, people are already used to. When eating in a restaurant, every second table remains unoccupied, even on vacation, and at the pool, instead of alternating loungers pushed together, you have two fixed tables and an umbrella for the family, jennifer wifling points out. Her tip for this year’s summer vacation is therefore: go to the travel agency, discuss your wishes together – then you will find the perfect trip.

Since 1. July takes place in the" travel island" again a personal consultation at the regular opening hours takes place. Nevertheless, due to the current security measures around the corona virus, it is requested that appointments be made.

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