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Tourism is only slowly recovering

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic continue to have a firm grip on tourism in Germany, despite a slight recovery last year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of overnight stays in hotels, guesthouses and holiday homes was 310.3 million in 2021 – and thus 37.4 percent below the level of the pre-crisis year 2019. Compared to the Corona crisis year 2020 there was a slight increase of 2, 7 percent.

In the winter months in particular, there were drastic slumps due to temporary bans and restrictions on accommodation. “Practically no stays by private travelers” were registered here, while there were hardly any corona-related restrictions in the summer.

"The results show that the global effects of the corona pandemic on international tourism can also be clearly felt in Germany," explained the Federal Office.

Hotel Association expects recovery by 2023

The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) expects booking numbers to increase this year, but a return to the pre-crisis level is not expected until 2023. "We expect the number of bookings to increase significantly again when the regulations are relaxed and the infection situation improves," said DEHOGA general manager Ingrid Hartges of the dpa news agency.

According to Hartges, tourist demand will recover quickly, as last summer showed. In individual summer months of the current year it will be possible to get back to the sales level of 2019. "I assume that 2023 will bring the return to normal and that we will be back at the level of 2019 in terms of sales."

According to the German Tourism Association (DTV), the lockdown months in the first half of 2021 caused billions of dollars in losses that are far from being compensated: "Most of all, tourism now needs to be able to plan and have perspectives for spring and Easter – in advance ' the association said.

NGG warns of a lack of skilled workers in gastronomy

The Food, Enjoyment and Restaurants Union (NGG) warned of a further emigration of skilled workers given the only slight recovery in domestic tourism last year. "The pandemic has hit the hospitality industry harder than almost any other industry," said NGG chairman Guido Zeitler.

"Because of the lack of prospects and losses due to short-time work benefits, tens of thousands of employees have already voted with their feet – and reoriented themselves professionally," said Zeitler. "If hoteliers and innkeepers don't offer more attractive working conditions across the board, there will soon be no more staff in many places to serve guests."

Industry hopes for Easter business

The industry is hoping for clear perspectives from the next conference of prime ministers with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "The Easter business in April is very important," said Hartges. According to the DEHOGA boss, 2G should be introduced nationwide instead of 2G-Plus.

Evening closure times, as they exist in some federal states, should be abolished. "Politicians should also abolish contact registration in our companies across the board, which has long since happened in some federal states," explained Hartges.

It is also of the utmost importance for business hotels that events, congresses and trade fairs can take place again. International guests in particular have been missing for two years, as many events have been cancelled.

Hardly any foreign guests

While the number of overnight stays by domestic travelers last year rose by 3.3 percent compared to the previous year, foreign guests fell by 3.1 percent. The number of overnight stays here fell by 3.1 percent to 31.0 million compared to the previous year.

This affects city tourism in particular. Hotels, guesthouses and inns suffered particularly hard, with 45.2 percent fewer overnight stays than in the pre-crisis year of 2019.

Camping holidays with a small decline

On campsites, on the other hand, there was only a minus of 7.8 percent. Holiday home tourism, which is considered low-contact, also got off relatively lightly and sees signs of a good season.

The current booking figures gave reason for optimism. "The coasts are likely to be crowded again this year," Michelleulper, head of the German Holiday Home Association, recently said. However, price increases cannot be ruled out due to higher energy and cleaning costs.

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