Facilitated by a strong Euro, creative packaging and promotional activities of German tour operators and their U.S. industry partners, German travel to the United States increased 17% in 2008, totaling nearly 1.8 million visitors. The finance crisis, swine flu and general economic uncertainty dampened the Germans’ travel bug in 2009, a trend that is expected to continue into 2010. Experts cite a combination of reasons for this: declining real income, unemployment and the fear thereof as well as a smaller household budget. Swine flu played less of a role than initially believed.
Although Germany is expected to be the top travel destination for German travelers in 2010, the USA and Austria share the number 2 slot. Experts predict a continuation of the strong trend toward city destinations, making this the favorite type of travel destination in 2010. All-inclusive packages and cruises share second place in the category type of travel. Hiking and nature travel takes third place and wellness holidays fourth place. As one of the favorite cities to visit, New York ranks high on the list, just under Berlin and Hamburg and is considered one of the most fascinating cities in the USA. Accessibility and airline offers play a significant role in the decision to visit New York. The still strong Euro and the Obama effect are encouraging factors for travel to the United States. Continuing negative public perceptions of strict entry and visa regulations as well as the proposed “entry tax” should prove to be only a slight deterrent. Germans will continue to travel but will take shorter trips and demand more value for money. They are refocusing their desire for rest, relaxation and adventure and will shift their demand accordingly. Offers such as city packages including wellness and a unique travel experience as well as a focus on value for money will prove to be the most successful in 2010.
City packages including wellness and a unique travel experience; a focus on value for money; all-inclusive packages; nature- hiking and camping holidays; flexible itinerary elements for FITs; Native American inventory packaged with local attractions and service providers, which should be activity-based rather than language dependent; incentives for small groups.