The German citizen enters June with fewer vacation concerns than usual in this large tourist issuer, accustomed to defining himself as a world champion in tourism, waiting to see if he will be able to travel abroad.
The fourth long weekend in May -on Labor Day followed on the 8th the anniversary of the fall of Nazism, a holiday in Berlin, then the Ascension Bridge and now Pentecost- was lived in Germany with internal tourism wide open.
In some cities on the Baltic coast, the great arrival of motorhomes and camping tourism was expected, favored by the good weather in an almost German summer spring.
Hotels have opened, hiking and cycling are on the rise. Inland tourism grew in the last decade at a constant rate – only in 2019 was there an annual increase of 3.7% in the number of overnight stays. Even so, until now only 30% of the Germans’ vacations were spent in the country itself.
For years, the preferred destination was Spain – 11 million German citizens chose that European partner in 2019 for their holidays.
But right now the main concern of the Germans is not where they will spend the holidays or the fear of contagion, but the economy. 61% of citizens say they are concerned about the economy, compared to 33% who say they are healthy, according to the weekly poll of the Politbarometer on public television ZDF.
Fear of the pandemic decreased in a country with 83 million inhabitants where 181,482 infections have been verified, of which 165,200 are recovered patients. The calculation of fatalities is moderate -8,500, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), competent in the matter in the country.
The economic factor centers the discussion, public or private. Germany is known on the brink of its worst recession in modern times – the government expects a 6.3% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) this 2020.
This being the case, 31% of those surveyed affirm that they will spend their holidays in the country, compared to 13% who persist in the idea of traveling to the rest of Europe or to other parts of the world.
WAITING TO CLARIFY WHERE YOU CAN TRAVEL
From the head of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, last week the green light was expected for travel within the European Union (EU). The minister had advanced his intention to withdraw the recommendation against any unnecessary travel to any country in the world to return to the specific information format for each country.
The announcement of the withdrawal of that global warning, with effect from June 15, was scheduled for last Wednesday. But the Bavarian Social Christian Union (CSU), a member of Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, blocked the ad.
The CSU has the Interior portfolio, in addition to the Transport portfolio. He did not allow the issue to be left alone in Foreign Affairs, the ministry of the social democrat Maas, and demanded time for internal debate.
The long-awaited green light is now expected to be announced this week. It will predictably release 31 countries – those of the EU, plus the United Kingdom and four other partners associated with the Schengen area, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from the general recommendation.
To the German citizen, who often book his vacation months in advance, such uncertainty retracts him. To this are added the successive news of cases of compatriots who, after landing their plane in the Balearic Islands, had to return home because they could not prove a reason for travel other than tourism.
LUFTHANSA TAKES OFF
The delay in foreign affairs or the lack of understanding about when the restrictions on international tourism will lift some of these preferential destinations -such as Spain- are deterrents.
At least the ransom seems to have been secured for Lufthansa. The German airline group accepted this weekend the rescue plan renegotiated with the European Commission (EC) and the German State, which will provide 9,000 million euros to the company.
Lufthansa must give up some ‘slots’ in Munich and Frankfurt. But they will be less than those initially required by Brussels.
Before the agreement was known – which must still endorse its supervisory council – it had already announced its intention to increase its flights to Spain from June 15.
After months of drastic reduction in routes, it will offer a total of 330 flights to or from Spain. Among them, Alicante, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Menorca as well as Andalusia and other parts of the country.