Hopes of a recovery in the German market have been dashed by figures showing a heavy 16% slump in summer 2016 sales in May.
Tour operators and travel agents had hoped that after five successive months of lower bookings the 6.6% rise in bookings in April might signal the start of a pick-up in demand. In addition, in the last few weeks several tour operators had reported rising bookings since mid-April.
But sales of summer 2016 holidays dropped by 16% last month compared to the same month last year, market researchers GfK found in their monthly travel agency survey. However, there had been a strong 21% rise in bookings in May 2015, suggesting a much lower underlying decline.
Moreover, late sales were weak last month, according to the GfK survey. Holidaymakers who booked and also travelled last month represented just 5.5% of total sales, which was 2.9 percentage points lower than last year. Bookings for departures in June also dropped by two percentage points.
With the poor May figures, the cumulative sales for summer 2016 have fallen by one percentage point to a drop of 7% compared to last year. Travel agencies have so far only sold 72% of last year’s total summer sales volume compared to a figure of 82% at the same point last year. The only slight consolidation is that early bookings for winter 2016/17 are so far 5% ahead of last year.
The GfK figures follow the monthly survey by IT services company TATS which showed a 3.3% drop in tourism revenues in May. The drop would have been even higher without cruise sales which continued to perform strongly with a 14.1% increase. This included a high 7.5% rise for cruises departing last month.
Overall, according to the TATS survey, tourism sales since January are at last year’s level but only thanks to cruise sales which are up by 12.3%.