At the beginning of 2021, the Corona pandemic continues to be omnipresent with the lockdown measures. How will this affect the travel behaviour of Germans this year? Will they go to exotic places again, to the beach or on a cruise? Not yet. The British American Tabacco Foundation and the Federal Statistical Office provide the figures with their tourism analysis by the Hamburg Foundation for Future Studies.
Almost half of Germans are planning to travel this year, while a third are still undecided and are waiting to see how things develop. Of the holiday planners, a third want to stay in Germany this year, 40 percent want to spend their holidays in Europe, 2.9 percent of them in neighbouring Austria.
Review of the 2020 travel year
The tourism analysis not only looks ahead, but also takes a look back to the year 2020. Professor Dr Ulrich Reinhardt, Scientific Director of the BAT Foundation, states: "Lockdowns, travel warnings and accommodation bans have changed travel. German citizens are showing themselves to be crisis-conscious and pragmatic. Instead of traveling, they stayed mostly at home in 2020 - partly by force, but also partly due to the great uncertainty and fear of infections."
Holidays on your own doorstep: more than half of all trips took place in Germany.
In addition to the traditional holiday states in the north - such as Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as well as Lower Saxony - and in the south of the country - such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg - other regions were also frequently visited in 2020. Twice as many Germans as usual spent their main holiday in Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia or Saxony.
For the first time in around 50 years, Austria took the top spot and was once again the most popular foreign travel destination for German citizens, followed by Italy and Spain. According to the Foundation, the main reasons for this were the relatively short journey and - at least perceived - less uncertainty.
Trend towards nature and outdoor experiences and sustainability
According to a study by ITB Berlin NOW and Statista on the future of the German travel industry, outdoor activities are becoming increasingly important and popular in Germany.
Nature and outdoor experiences at lakes and in the mountains as well as camping holidays have become increasingly relevant in 2020 and have risen in rank in the popularity ranking: lakes and mountains from sixth to fifth place, camping from ninth to seventh place.
The trend towards spending more time in nature is also reflected in the number of visits to outdoor websites: The route planning website "komoot", for example, was accessed just under 8.5 million times in July 2020, compared to less than half as many views in July of the previous year.
Also interesting: the topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the tourism industry - for around 3.1 million Germans, this very topic is particularly relevant, twice as many as in 2018.