From coronavirus to war: Will travel become more expensive? | Travel

The epidemic is not over yet, there is a war in Europe and inflation is rising. In such difficult times, many people yearn for a vacation. However, going on vacation is not as easy as it used to be. The pandemic of more than two years has left its mark on many people, raising existential concerns and job concerns. Just as restrictions were lifted across Europe, Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, sparking more anxiety and uncertainty around the world.

No wonder so many need a break. After all, a vacation is an opportunity to relax. But the current crises are also affecting the travel industry.

High cost of flights and hotels

Anyone looking for flights today may be wondering why their prices have gone up in recent months. Prices are already going up, and there are two reasons for that.

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“Overall, the cost of gas and oil prices are rising at record levels. Guests feel this also in the prices of airline tickets which have become very expensive as a result,” Johanna Tillmann of German airline Condor told DW. After all, it’s not just car owners who pay the most at the pump; Airlines pay more for fuel.

“In addition, we are currently seeing the result of pent-up demand for vacation travel. This has an impact on airfare and accommodation prices, particularly in high season, because (such prices are) based on demand,” Tillman explained. .

Hotels must also contend with the higher costs. They have to pay more for oil, gas, electricity and food. In addition, many hotels lack skilled workers. At the height of the epidemic, hotels were empty and many employees found other jobs.

To some extent, the hospitality industry must now create incentives – primarily financial – to hire employees. Additional costs are charged to guests in part through higher room rates.

What about vacation packages?

Costs also affect so-called package vacations, trips in which vacationers book a package consisting of various travel-related offerings, including flights, hotels, and hotel transfers.

According to German travel price comparison website, Check24, group trips booked to destinations popular with German tourists are more expensive than they were last year. The average one-week vacation for two people, booked in May for the months June through August 2022 to Mallorca, Spain, is 17% more expensive than last year. Martin Zeer, managing director of the tour company Check24, said in an interview with DW.

Increase spending on travel

However, the high prices did not stop everyone from spending money on travel. According to the German Travel Association (DRV), which represents Germany’s travel industry, German travelers are now spending more money after two years of little or no travel, and they’re booking expensive trips. Torsten Schäfer, DRV Press Spokesperson, explained, “Those who used to book with breakfast only now book all inclusive, and those who used to book three-star hotels are now booking four-star accommodations. And many vacationers are traveling longer. ususally”. .

German airline Lufthansa has seen a similar trend. “It is currently difficult to get seats in Business Class and First Class. They are the first to be fully booked,” Lufthansa press spokeswoman Bettina Rietberger said. Not many people have been on vacation for two years, have saved money and now want to enjoy themselves. According to the German Travel Association, the demand for flights to the Mediterranean, especially to Spain, Greece and Turkey, is increasing this summer.

When it comes to tour packages, Schaeffer says stable prices are more or less guaranteed, since tour operators typically purchase units with hotels and airlines in the previous year, in which case, economic conditions were more favorable at the time. Thus tourists who book early can expect better prices. But if tour operators run out of previously purchased offers and have to buy more, it can become more expensive.

Don’t forget the extra costs

Travelers should plan for some extra costs this summer when considering their budgets. The reason may be that many restaurants, clubs, and cafes in the holiday destination have raised their prices.

There is a car rental case as well. In 2019, rental cars booked with the help of Check24 cost just over €34 ($36) per day in 20 countries. This year, the average daily rate was around 74 euros ($79), more than double.

Then there are non-financial factors that can currently make travel more difficult. Similar to the hotel industry, many airports also lack staff. This has resulted in extremely long queues at security checkpoints, fewer staff at airline check-in counters, as well as a shortage of ground staff serving aircraft.

At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the situation is extreme. Some passengers had to wait hours for check-in or boarding flights. To prevent the situation from deteriorating, KLM has had to cut ticket sales for flights to and from Amsterdam.

In short, anyone planning a vacation should do so early and not count on last-minute haggling – and don’t be surprised if the trip is more expensive than the previous year. If luck is good, this summer many vacationers may be able to spend some time away from crises, wars or an epidemic, at least for a few precious moments. What the future will bring is anyone’s guess.

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