Sharing is caring!

On June 15, the German government’s worldwide travel warning for most European countries will be lifted. How are tour operators and travel agencies preparing for the new start? How willing are Germans to travel?

In the last three months Heike Werner and Stefan Burkhart had plenty to do at their travel agency in Berlin’s city center, as they dealt with cancellations and organized repatriations for customers who had become stranded abroad. The only thing they could not generate was any income.

The two have been running their travel agency Phileas Reisen for 15 years. Named after the eccentric and adventurous Englishman Phileas Fogg, the hero of the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days, the travel agency specializes in cruises and wealthy customers.

Exterior view travel agency Phileas in Berlin, Germany(DW/A. Kirchhoff)

Travel agencies are still busier with cancellations than with new bookings

During the coronavirus crisis they had to lay off one employee and place another one on reduced working hours. Although the running costs of the offices in a prime city location have been reduced by almost half, they now need support from the bank. It must approve a loan so that the travel agency can survive the coming weeks and months.

After the travel restrictions for Germany, and now Europe have been lifted, they continue to observe great reluctance among their regular customers. They don’t have any walk-in business as they are only open to customers who have made a prior appointment by phone.

And yet they consider themselves lucky because they were able to use the lockdown to cultivate customer loyalty. Many of those clients who value their service and don’t want to be without their travel agency have entrusted them with travel requests that they would otherwise have organized without the help of the travel agency.

Majorca rather than the Maldives

Heike Werner tells the story of a customer who wanted to go to the North Sea island of Sylt for a few days, to a hotel she had already visited last year. Normally, this customer would have booked the trip herself since anyone can call a hotel. But because she knows that the travel agency is short of commissions these days, she wanted to book the holiday through them to show her support. And a European trip was also handled by the travel agency for the same customer, which will take her to a luxury hotel on Majorca.

However, overall booking behavior is still very restrained, Stefan Burkhart explains. According to the latest survey on consumer behavior by GfK, Germany’s largest market research institute, 26% of the people surveyed said they would be skipping their planned vacation. The outlook is also poor for the major tour operators. They are trying to salvage what can be saved.

Beach cove near Palma de Mallorca, Spain (picture-alliance/AP Photo/I. Bu)

Palma de Mallorca is waiting for tourists — on June 15, the first tourists will be allowed to visit the island

“The desire to travel to Europe’s beaches has increased steadily in recent days. Now we’re going to put on the turbo boost, so that everyone has the chance to make up for lost time and book a summer holiday,” says Herbert Kluge, managing director of TUI, the world’s largest travel company. Almost 11,000 Germans are to be flown to the Balearic Islands from June 15, even before travel restrictions in Spain are officially lifted.

Its competitor, DER Touristik, has also negotiated an exemption agreement with the Spanish government to test “how the new provisions for the protection of guests will be implemented.” DER is convinced “that both the German airports, as well as Mallorca Airport, the bus companies, the hoteliers, the gastronomy and the tour guides will master these challenges on site. As soon as all criteria have been met, the 2020 summer season can begin,” says Ingo Burmester, head of DER Touristik Central Europe.

Bravi Tedeschi! Brave Germans, come to Venice!

“We are open again,” Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced, after the Italians were first to be allowed to travel again within their own country. This was a “reassuring message” to the world. After the European borders have been opened, international tourism, which is especially important for Venice, can start again. After all, most visitors come from the US, China, the UK, and Germany.

Sunset in Venice, Italy (picture-alliance/dpa/K.H.Spremberg)

Venice is also hoping for the return of tourists after the travel restrictions within in Europe have been lifted

Last year, the World Heritage city recorded around 13 million overnight stays. Numbers like these will not be matched again so quickly. The city had actually planned to demand a controversial “entrance tax” as of July 1, because of the crowds in recent years. Then COVID-19 struck. The tax will be postponed until next year. And politicians are suddenly pleading for tourists to come.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro was already aware of some German tourists on May 31, even before the Italian borders were officially opened. “Together with a bunch of other people, incredibly, 200 Germans arrived. Don’t ask me how they managed that, but they came. There is no stopping the Germans. Bravi Tedeschi! Come here, we love you!” he told the Italian TV station RAI.

Holiday on reduced working hours allowance? Not likely!

The managing directors of Phileas Reisen in Berlin doubt whether the normally travel-happy Germans will soon be on the road again to the same degree. Eccentrics and people who can afford it will not give up traveling. “We also have a customer who is convinced that, despite the travel warning, he now absolutely must fly to the US and is asking us whether we can somehow make this possible,” says Stefan Burkhart. At least he has already talked the customer out of his original dream destination, North Korea.

Old town of San Gimignano, Italy (picture-alliance/dpa/Gernhoefer)

Tuscany rather than Miami Beach: San Gimignano — known as the town of fine towers

But many will have to give up going on holiday for the foreseeable future. “Families, for example, in which one person has become unemployed due to the crisis or has to manage on reduced working hours pay, will not be able to afford to travel,” adds Heike Werner.

The two travel professionals’ next destinations are also still subject to restrictions that impede the freedom to travel that was once taken for granted. Stefan Burkhart will not be going to Florida as planned but will instead be flying to Barcelona for three days. And Heike Werner will indefinitely postpone her next cruise, but will instead be going to Tuscany by car.

  • two young women with trolley bags on the island Spiekeroog, Germany (picture-alliance/dpa/I. Wagner)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Bookings on Airbnb are picking up again

    In Germany, Airbnb accommodation bookings in the past week were 60 per cent higher than a year ago, the global provider announced on June 11. These bookings were mainly for places within a radius of 80 to 320 kilometers (50-220 mi) of the users’ home. However, things at Airbnb are far from business as usual. The company had to cut about 1900 jobs worldwide because of the coronavirus crisis.

  • the beach of island Ko Phi Phi, Thailand (picture-alliance/CPA Media/Pictures From History/O. Hargreave)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    German government extends worldwide travel ban

    The beaches of the world people dream of, like here on Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, will have to do without German tourists. The German government has extended the travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic for more than 160 countries outside the EU until August 31. However, exceptions can be made for individual countries where the spread of the virus has been sufficiently contained.

  • Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (AFP/J. Reina)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Tourist pilot project launched on Mallorca

    6000 Germans will be the first foreign tourists to be allowed to travel to the Balearic Islands from Monday (June 15). According to Spanish media, the pilot project is intended to test the security precautions at airports and hotels before all of Spain opens its borders on July 1. Germany was chosen because the epidemiological situation there is similar to that on the Balearic Islands.

  • people onthe beach, baltic sea, Germany(picture-alliance/dpa/S. Sauer)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    App to regulate beach visits on the Baltic Sea coast

    A new app is to help manage the flow of visitors to the Baltic Sea beaches, Schleswig-Holstein’s state premier Daniel Günther announced on June 7. Visitors use the app to register their desired time slot on the beach. If there is enough space available, they will be given an access authorization. The municipality of Scharbeutz developed the system, which could now also be used by other places.

  • USA | Las Vegas | Hotel Bellagio (picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Locher)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Las Vegas reopens casinos

    After having to close because of the coronavirus crisis, the casinos in Las Vegas reopened on Thursday (June 5). Hygiene precautions are to reduce the risk of infection. Visitor capacity has been reduced to half, plexiglass panels separate players from croupiers, and the casino tokens (chips) are regularly disinfected. Nightclubs and big shows in the casinos are still not allowed at the moment.

  • Germany Berlin Tegel airport (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Schöning)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Tegel Airport to remain open — for the time being

    Berlin’s Tegel Airport will not be temporarily closed after all. Airport manager Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said on Wednesday (June 3) that the number of passengers was even expected to rise again. Earlier, the German government had announced that it would lift its travel warnings for 29 European countries on June 15. On that day, Tegel was supposed to go off the grid.

  • people on the beach of Ostia, Italy (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Medichini)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Italy reopened for Europeans

    Starting on Wednesday (June 3), tourists from Europe have been allowed to enter Italy again, the country that was one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. A two-week quarantine for travellers from Europe is no longer required. This should save the travel season. Italians will again be able to move freely throughout the country and travel to other regions.

  • View of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany at dusk (picture-alliance/DUMONT Bildarchiv/T. Roetting)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Neuschwanstein Castle is open again

    Neuschwanstein Castle — since Tuesday June 2 — is again open to tourists. Previously, the Bavarian state government had made a whole range of tourist attractions such as the boat trip on Lake Starnberg or Nymphenburg Castle accessible again. One of the attractions that will remain closed due to the coronavirus because of restricted space is the royal house at Schachen.

  • Zugspitze Cable car (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Hoppe)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Cable cars in Bavaria are back in operation

    The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 2962 meters (9718 ft.), is accessible again. From Saturday (May 30) the cable cars and chair lifts in Bavaria are allowed to run again. Physical distancing and compulsory facemasks are a matter of course, the number of passengers is limited to 35% of the transport capacity. The first mountain huts are also opening again.

  • Roller coasters at Europapark Rust, Germany (picture-alliance/Arco Images)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Roller coasters are running again at Europapark Rust

    This is the first large amusement park in the world to resume operations. Rules are: Facemasks must be worn in the queue and every second seat must be left empty. More than 2.5 million tickets have already been requested online for the coming weeks. The Europapark Rust, located in the triangle of Germany, France and Switzerland, attracted 5.7 million visitors last year.

  • cruise ship Aidablu (picture-alliance/dpa)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Aida cancels cruises until end of July

    The 14 cruise ships of the German Rostock-based shipping company Aida Cruises will remain in port until July 31. In many holiday destination countries the regulations for international tourism are still being discussed, the company announced. The Italian shipping company Costa is also extending the cruise suspension for its fleet until July 31.

  • Colosseum, Rome, Italy (picture-alliance/ROPI/L. Bianco)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Colosseum and other sights in Italy open again

    Rome’s 2,000-year-old landmark can finally be visited again from June 1, and the Vatican Museums will also reopen on that day. Ancient Pompeii, south of Naples at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is already welcoming visitors again, but only those from within the country. From June 3, however, foreign tourists will be able to return to Italy and visit the ancient sites.

  • Mosaics in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank (Getty Images/AFP/T. Coex)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem can be visited again

    From today (May 26) one of the most sacred places of Christianity will be open to the public again. Only 50 people can enter the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; wearing facemasks is compulsory. While Jews have already been allowed to pray again at the Western Wall also known as the Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is to open to Muslims at the end of the week.

  • a white church with a blue dome on the island Santorini, Greece (Dimitris Koutoulas)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Tourism on Greek islands starts again

    From Monday (May 25), Greece’s islands will be accessible again by plane and ferry for domestic tourists. Taverns, bars and cafes are reopening nationwide. Ferries are to sell only 50% of their tickets, and taverns are only allowed to occupy half of their tables. The list of countries from which foreign tourists can enter Greece without a two-week quarantine will be announced at the end of May.

  • Berlin TV Tower Berlin and the Alexanderplatz, Germany (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Schlesinger)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Berlin Television Tower reopens

    Starting on May 22, visitors will again be allowed on to the viewing platform and restaurant of the Berlin TV tower. Only about 50 people are allowed in at any one time, masks are mandatory, and tickets must be reserved online. At 368 meters (1207 ft.), the Berlin Television Tower is the tallest building in Germany and a popular tourist hotspot.

  • Mount Fuji Japan (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Zastavkin)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Climbing season on Japan’s highest mountain Fuji cancelled

    Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese authorities have imposed a climbing ban on Mount Fuji on May 18, and all four routes on the mountain have been closed. Normally during the climbing season in summer, which lasts only two months, thousands of people climb the slopes of the volcano daily in single file. At 3,776 meters (12,389 feet), the mountain is the highest in Japan.

  • parasols on the beach of Glyfada near Athens, Greece (picture-alliance/ANE)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Successful start of the beach season in Greece

    In Greece, all beaches in the country were reopened on May 16. According to media reports, strict regulations were observed: The distance between parasols had to be four meters and only two sunbeds per parasol were allowed. Beach bars could only sell packaged food and not serve alcohol. Is this a preview of summer holidays in Europe despite the coronavirus pandemic?

  • Motorway at the border between Germany and the Netherlands (picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Quarantine restrictions for entry into Germany to be relaxed

    From May 15, people entering North Rhine-Westphalia from other EU countries and Schengen states no longer have to go into a 14-day home quarantine. The other German states are to follow in the next few days. Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are also exempt from the quarantine regulations, making travel to neighboring countries much easier.

  • Couple hugging each other across a border barrier, Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance, German-Swiss border (Reuters/A. Wiegmann)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Borders are opening, for lovers too

    On May 16, Germany opened its borders to neighboring countries France, Austria and Switzerland. There will only be random checks, and no more checks at all for Luxembourg. However, there must still be “good” reasons for crossing the border. And love is accepted as such. For example, German-Swiss couples at Lake Constance (photo) — can visit each other again.

  • Motorway at the border crossing between Germany and Austria (picture-alliance/SvenSimon)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Austria to open border to Germany again

    The Austrian government has announced that the border with Germany will be opened on June 15. Tourism in Austria has been effectively suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On May 29, hotels and other accommodation in Austria will be allowed to reopen. Austrian tourism is heavily dependent on guests from Germany.

  • Sunrise and dramatic sky over the beach on the north sea island Juist, Germany (picture-alliance/dpa/D. Rueter)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Start of the season on the North Sea Islands

    Borkum, Juist (photo) and the other East Frisian islands are happy to be able to greet tourists again, even if it’s a limited surge of visitors. Since May 11, overnight stays in holiday apartments and camping sites throughout Lower Saxony have been allowed again. Holidaymakers must stay at least one week. However, day tourists and hotel overnight stays are still prohibited.

  • Frauenplan street, Weimar, Germany (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Schoening)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Weimar permits outdoor catering again

    Thuringians are pioneers. Weimar is the first city in Germany to reopen restaurants and cafés. Since May 6, people have been sitting in the sun with a coffee or beer and enjoying a step back towards normality — while keeping their distance. Restaurants and hotels in the other federal states will also resume their limited operations by the end of May.

  • Empty sandy beach with rock outcrops and pine trees on Paguera beach, Mallorca (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Reiner)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Will travel within Europe soon be possible again?

    Holidaymakers might also be able to travel to the Balearic or Greek Islands in summer. “If there are very few new infections there and the medical care works, one could also think about a summer holiday in those places”, the government’s commissioner for tourism, Thomas Bareiss, told the Tagesspiegel newpaper. Long-distance travel, however, is likely to be cancelled this summer.

  • Beer garden in Bamberg, Germany (Bamberg Tourism & Congress Service)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Bavaria’s beer gardens reopen

    On May 18, the coronavirus lockdown for Bavaria’s outdoor gastronomy ended and the beer gardens have reopened. Of course under strict conditions — waiters have to wear masks, for example. On May 25, indoor gastronomy is to follow, restaurants and cafes, with a limited number of guests. From May 30, the operation of hotels, and holiday homes in Bavaria will be allowed again.

  • the selling Pier at the Baltic Sea, Germany(picture-alliance/Zoonar/G. Kirsch)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Holiday season at the Baltic Sea to start

    Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the first federal state to reopen to tourists from all over Germany: From May 25th they can again stay in hotels, guest houses and holiday homes. 60 percent of the bed capacity will be released for this purpose. This means that the tourist season can start with the Whitsun holidays in popular holiday regions like the Baltic Sea and the Mecklenburg Lake District.

  • Forbidden City in Beijing (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Schiefelbein)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Forbidden City in Beijing will reopen

    One of Beijing’s most important sights can be visited again after months of closure due to the coronavirus crisis. From Friday (May 1), visitors are allowed back into the palace complex on Tiananmen Square under strict security conditions. Instead of the previously usual 80,000 visitors, a maximum of 5,000 guests are to be admitted daily.

  • Empty beach near Barcelona, Spain (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Oesterle)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Germany extends worldwide travel warning

    Germany extended on Wednesday (April 29) its worldwide travel warning due to the coronavirus crisis to at least June 14. The Federal Foreign Office said that “severe and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries can still be expected.”

  • North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf: Empty chairs stand in front of the town hall (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Vennenbernd)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Empty chairs a warning from restaurant owners

    Gastronomes have set up empty chairs in central locations in Germany, such as here in Düsseldorf, to draw attention to their situation in the coronavirus crisis. “Without direct financial aid, most of our businesses will not survive,” says Guido Zöllick, President of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. “Suppliers and partners are also increasingly being drawn deeper into economic crisis.”

  • Empty jetty at Wolfgangsee Lake, Austria (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Gindl)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Travel between Austria and Germany will soon be possible again

    Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is confident that the border between Austria and Germany will soon be opened again for tourists. Both countries are on the right track in containing the spread of the coronavirus, Kurz told ARD television on Wednesday (April 22). This is the precondition for a revival of tourism. He did not name an exact date for the opening of borders.

  • Höllentalangerhütte mountain hut at Höllental (picture alliance / Bildagentur-online/Schickert)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Not a normal holiday season this summer

    “A normal holiday season with crowded beach bars and busy mountain huts will not be possible this summer. That would be unacceptable,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday (April 21). However, he did not rule out the possibility that borders for tourists could be reopened before the summer and that holiday travel with certain restrictions might be possible.

  • München Oktoberfest 2019 O´zapft is (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Schrader)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    The Oktoberfest in Munich has been cancelled

    The Oktoberfest has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bavaria’s premier Markus Söder and Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter announced the decision on Tuesday (April 21). ”It pains us, and it is a great pity”, said Söder. But in times of the coronavirus, the danger of infection at the folk festival, which attracts about six million visitors annually, would just be too great.

  • Schleswig-Holstein, St. Peter-Ording, empty beach (picture-alliance/dpa/W. Runge)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Schleswig-Holstein hopes for summer tourism

    The Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, hopes that tourism on the North and Baltic Seas will be revived in the summer. Despite the coronavirus crisis, he “definitely did not write off the summer tourism business,” he said on April 19. While they are now proscribed, stays in secondary residences, holiday homes and finally hotels could be made possible again in three steps.

  • Empty cafe tables in a deserted town center in Germany, Hofbräuhaus, Munich (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Hörhager)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Poor outlook for tourism

    The government resolutions (April 15th) stipulate that people in Germany should continue to refrain from making private trips. The worldwide travel warning is to be upheld. Accommodation offers are only available for necessary and explicitly non-touristic purposes. Restaurants will also remain closed. Tourism is one of the industries that has been hit hardest in the coronavirus crisis.

  • Russian tourists at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Stolyarova)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    US entry ban from Europe to remain in place for the time being

    The entry ban imposed by the USA on foreign nationals from Europe will remain in place for the time being. Italy and Spain are still struggling with the coronavirus crisis and France has just extended measures to contain infections by the virus, US President Donald Trump said on Monday (April 13). The entry ban will remain in force until the countries show signs of improvement, Trump said.

  • Exterior view of the Royal Palace in Palma de Mallorca (picture-alliance/GTRES/G3online)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Mallorca worried about the summer

    Hotels, cafes and souvenir shops are closed. It is unusually empty outside the Royal Palace in Palma (picture). The Easter season on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca has been cancelled. The Majorcan hotel association now fears that due to the uncertain situation in the main markets of Germany and Great Britain, some hotels will remain closed even during the peak season.

  • Coronavirus Nepal Kathmandu Touristen Flughafen (picture-alliance/dpa/N. Shrestha)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    More Germans brought back from abroad

    By Sunday (April, 5) 205,000 travelers had been brought back to Germany, according to the federal government. Airplanes from Peru and Colombia were the most recent to take off. More than 40,000 Germans however are still stranded abroad. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. ”We will continue our efforts to find solutions for the travelers who have not yet been able to return.”

  • Coronavirus Neuseeland Fremantle Flughafen Symbolbild Touristen (Getty Images/P. Kane)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    New Zealand lets tourists leave

    Thousands of foreigners stranded in New Zealand because of the coronavirus crisis will be able to leave the Pacific state from Friday (April 3). On Thursday, the New Zealand government announced that it would allow the “safe and orderly departure of tens of thousands” of stranded people. Earlier it had stopped return flights by foreign governments.

  • Schweiz Corona-Botschaft auf Matterhorn (picture-alliance/KEYSTONE/V. Flauraud)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    A symbol of hope

    A light installation on the Matterhorn in Switzerland is giving a sign of solidarity and hope in the fight against the corona virus. Encouraging messages are also being projected on to many other tourist landmarks around the world. “Stay safe”, “Stay at home” could be see on Monday evening on the Great Pyramid in Giza near the Egyptian capital Cairo.

  • Cook Islands Rarotonga Auswirkungen der Corona-Krise auf den Tourismus (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/DeFreitas)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Repatriation mission will take at least two more weeks

    The repatriation process for Germans stranded abroad is ongoing. Until now, main destinations such as Egypt or Morocco have been addressed. “It will be more difficult with countries that only have small groups of scattered adventure vacationers,” said the crisis manager of the German Foreign Office. Tourists in the Pacific Islands must first be rounded up in New Zealand and then flown out.

  • Checkpoints in Thailand (picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS/SOPA images/Y. Kongprasert)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Thailand closes its borders

    After long delays Thailand closed its borders on Thursday (March 26). The authorities had delayed the decision for a long time to safeguard the tourism sector. Now tens of thousands of tourists are stuck in the Southeast Asian tourist country. The German government has so far not organized a repatriation for German tourists, as Thailand is not considered a risk region.

  • Coronavirus Mallorca Spanien Flughafen (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Margais)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Huge repatrition drive

    The German foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (March 25) that, together with tour operators, it had brought back more than 150,000 Germans from abroad. Tour operator TUI added that almost 95 percent of the tourists who were stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic are now back in Germany. They were mainly flown out from Egypt, Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.

  • Coronavirus Flughafen Frankfurt (picture-alliance/nordphoto/Bratic)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Travel warning extended

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that the warning against traveling abroad will remain in effect until the end of April. “This includes the Easter holidays,” he said on Twitter. “Stay at home! Protect yourself and your fellow human beings,” he appealed to the population. Many tour operators have also extended their travel ban until the end of April.

  • Coronavirus - Stuttgart (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Weller)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    EU pays for return to Europe

    The EU Commission is supporting the return to Europe of tens of thousands of long-distance travellers. It intends to cover a large part of the costs, since most of the flight connections have been cancelled. “We are here to help them return,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message.

  • Coronavirus in Südafrika Flughafen Polokwane Rückkehrer (picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Africa’s measures to deal with the pandemic

    African countries have also ordered numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa, for example, has banned access to the country for people coming from risk areas. Nigeria is monitoring the temperature of travelers at airports, ports and borders. Cameroon has closed its borders indefinitely.

  • Coronavirus in Australien Brisbane (picture-alliance/Zuma/Sopa/F. Rols)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Australia bans foreign travel

    The Australian government has imposed an indefinite ban on all foreign travel by its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called on all Australians who are abroad to return home. A 14-day compulsory quarantine for all people entering the country has already been in place for some time. Here, too, it has become quiet in the cities.

  • Coronavirus – leerer Bahnhof in Schwerin (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Büttner)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Tourism in Germany comes to a halt

    The coronavirus crisis is impacting travelers and the tourism industry with full force. Several tour operators, including TUI, has cancelled trips, and some airlines are shutting down. Germany’s federal and state governments decided that overnight stays should only be used for “necessary and explicitly not for touristic purposes”. Germans are to “no longer take holiday trips at home and abroad”.

  • Coronavirus -Kontrolle an der Grenze zu Frankreich (picture-alliance/E. Cegarra)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    EU external borders closed

    The EU has closed its entire external borders for 30 days as from Tuesday (March 17, 2020). “All travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days,” French President Macron said in a television address on Monday (March 16,2020) evening. The Schengen Area, which includes several non-EU countries, has also closed its external borders.

  • Airbus A320-200 der deutschen Fluggesellsschaft Lufthansa (picture-alliance/W. Minich)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Germany brings travelers back home

    More and more countries are sealing their borders, and many flights are cancelled. With special flights Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings want to bring up to 6,500 stranded holidaymakers from the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and on Mallorca back to Germany. In Morocco, the German government is assisting German tourists who are stranded there due to their return flights being cancelled.

  • Grenzkontrolle Deutschland Frankreich | Grenze Saarbrücken (DW/B. Riegert)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Germany partially closes its borders to tourists

    On Monday morning (March 16, 2020), Germany introduced entry controls at the borders with the five neighboring countries: France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Border crossings will be reduced to what is strictly necessary. Goods can continue to pass through, including commuters, but not travelers without good reason. The duration of the measures remains open.

  • Der rotweiße Amrumer Leuchtturm (picture-alliance/M. Narten)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    North German islands closed for tourists

    Whether Spiekeroog, Sylt or Rügen: Vacation on the northern German islands in the North and Baltic Sea is no longer possible as of March 16, 2020. Those who had already moved into their accommodation have been asked to return home. The health systems of the islands are not equipped to deal with large numbers of infected people. Regulations are to follow for mainland tourism.

  • Disneyland Paris (picture alliance)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Disneyland Paris closes

    Disneyland Paris and Disney World Florida have closed until the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line have also suspended all new departure through the same period. The company said the decision was made “with great caution” to protect guests and employees. The company said the parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, which had already been closed, will also remain shut.

  • Winter in Tirol (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Riedl)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Austrian ski regions end season early

    All ski areas in the Austrian provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol are ending the winter season early. Cable car operation will be discontinued as of Sunday (March 15, 2020). Hotels and accommodations will be closed from Monday. The provincial governments said that this should slow down the spread of the virus in the Alpine country. The two provinces account for most leading Austrian ski areas.

  • USA coronavirus Statue of Liberty in New York City (picture-alliance/dpa/J. D. Ake)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    USA: Entry ban for Europeans

    Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the USA is imposing a general 30-day travel ban on people from Europe. The entry ban comes into force on Friday (March 13, 2020) at midnight (local time). It does not apply to US citizens residing in Europe who have tested negative for the pathogen.

  • Tourists at Red Fort in New Delhi

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    India imposes entry ban

    India has declared all tourist visas invalid for 1 month because of the corona virus. Only travelers who are already in the country are allowed to stay, the Indian Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday (March 11, 2020). The entry ban is to last until April 15 for the time being.

  • Mount Everest as seen from Namche Bajar

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    China closes access to Mount Everest

    Climbing Mount Everest via the north side has been forbidden by Chinese authorities. The necessary permits for expeditions to the world’s highest mountain were withdrawn on Thursday (March 12, 2020).

  • Austria Coronavirus border checks (picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. Joensson)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Italy increasingly sealed off

    In order to reduce the spread, the border into neighboring Austria can only be crossed from Italy with a medical certificate. Slovenia has closed its border, and Albania has banned Italian air and ferry traffic. Many airlines have cancelled flights to Italy until at least 3 April. Germany, the UK, and Ireland tightened travel recommendations and called on their citizens to leave.

  • Italy cruise ship Costa Smeralda in the port of Civitavecchia (Reuters/G. Mangiapane)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Mediterranean cruises put on hold

    The Costa Crociere shipping company is cancelling all cruises in the Mediterranean for the time being. The cruises will be suspended until April 3, the Italian company announced on Tuesday (March 10). The measure affects thousands of passengers. Ships still operating in the Mediterranean will only call at Italian ports to let passengers disembark.

  • Germany Reichstag glass dome in Berlin (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/De Simone-AGF)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Reichstag dome closed for visitors

    The dome and roof terrace of the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin have been closed to visitors since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) until further notice to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. The walkable dome and the roof terrace are visited by more than 2 million people every year, according to the Bundestag.

  • Ski piste Piz Boe in Dolomites Italy (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Schoening)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Winter sports season in Italy ended early

    All ski facilities in Italy have been closed since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) due to the corona crisis. Prior to this, hoteliers and cable car operators in the South Tyrol region (photo) had already agreed to close their facilities. South Tyrol is particularly popular with winter sports tourists from Germany and Eastern Europe. The closure is effective until at least April 3.

  • Coronavirus - Czech Republic border checks (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Kube)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Travel warnings and border controls

    The Czech Republic (picture) and Poland are carrying out checks at the border with Germany to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Since Monday (March 9), travelers have faced random temperature checks. The German government has warned against travelling to risk areas. And air passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy will have to expect controls when entering Germany.

  • Coronavirus - Italy- empty cafe tables in Venice (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Furlan)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Italy in crisis

    On March 8 the Italian government issued an entry and exit ban for the more than 15 million inhabitants of the northern Italian regions, which include the key business center Milan and the tourist magnet of Venice (photo). Cultural, sporting and religious events are also banned for visitors. Museums, cinemas and theaters remain closed nationwide.

  • Costa Fortuna cruise ship is seen near Phuket, Thailand.

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Cruises a risk factor

    Repeatedly cruise ships have to be quarantined or prevented from docking. After cancellations in Thailand and Malaysia, the Costa Fortuna (photo) with 2,000 passengers, including 64 Italians, has been allowed to enter the port of Singapore. In Oakland, California, 2,000 passengers and 1,100 crew members of the Grand Princess are quarantined because 19 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Japan Tourism Coronavirus (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Taga)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Asia fears dramatic setbacks

    Sights in Asia are particularly affected by travel restrictions for Chinese tourists. Hotspots such as the Senso-ji temple (picture) in Tokyo and the temple complexes of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are reporting a sharp drop in visitors. On March 9, the Ministry of Tourism in Thailand reported a 44% drop for February. Tourism accounts for 11% of the gross domestic product.

    Author: Andreas Kirchhoff, Susan Bonney-Cox


Read More