USA holidays

No Trump effect, say German tour operators

Germans are continuing to go on holiday to the USA this year, countering fears they would stay away due to President Donald Trump’s controversial comments and policies, according to top travel firms.

November 08, 2017
New York remains a top draw for German tourists.
Photo: Thinkstock

The election of Donald Trump as US President one year ago generated worries that foreign tourists would be put off by policies such as bans on visitors from some Muslim countries. The USA is the top overseas destination for Germans with about two million visitors a year.

But this is not the case for organised holidays where demand remains good thanks to the stronger euro, German tour operators told DPA.

TUI said it saw a “fulminant” start to the 2017 summer season which then weakened during the year. But US bookings remain higher than last year overall. “Looking at our figures we cannot see any ‘Trump effect’. We had a strong USA year,” said a spokeswoman. It is too early to make any forecasts for 2018, however, she added.

DER Touristik is seeing good demand for USA holidays in winter 2017/18. “We have a single-digit increase for our brands Dertour and Meier’s Weltreisen. Summer 2018 is also well booked. So we cannot observe any influence of Donald Trump’s presidency on booking decisions,” said Jörn Kraußer, head of long-haul holidays. “Customers are interested above all in what they get for their travel budget. The holiday price and the exchange rate play a much bigger role than politics or the behaviour of the president.”

Munich-based FTI said it is very satisfied with the summer 2017 season and currently has a double-digit rise in bookings for next summer. “We cannot see any slump in demand for USA trips and therefore no great Trump effect,” commented North America product manager Fabio Negro.

Among other major tour operators, Thomas Cook described demand for the USA as stable. But two leading specialists for North American holidays see this year’s trends very differently.

Canusa Touristik owner Tilo Krause-Dünow commented diplomatically: “With our efforts to promote the USA emotionally positively, we are unfortunately left standing without the help of the White House.” The tour operator heard doubts from customers at the start of this year but this changed over the last few months. “In our experience, Germans still want to go to New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, Miami and the National Parks, and experience the beaches and a lot more.” In contrast, Canada had much higher double-digit growth in visitor numbers this year. “That will continue for Canada in 2018 while we expect USA demand at the level of 2017,” he added.

America Unlimited managing director Timo Kohlenberg had a clear opinion. “Yes, the Trump Effect could be felt,” he declared. The tour operator’s US business dropped by 5-10% at different phases this year, while Canada had profited. More recently, though, US booking picked up again. Kohlenberg believes there might even be a positive Trump effect now. “The initial euphoria and belief in Trump’s political aims have disappeared into thin air and the euro has strengthened well against the dollar,” he said. As a result, US trips are cheaper again.

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