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Omicron: Tourism industry down? | DW Travel | DW

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 Omicron: Tourism industry down?  |  DW Travel |  DW

For the German tourism industry, last Friday was once again a black one. Due to the rapid spread of the Omikron variant, the Prime Ministers’ Conference agreed on the 2G plus rule for pubs and restaurants. This means: only those who have been boosted or who can show a current negative test in addition to the vaccination or recovery are allowed to eat and drink outside. One of countless setbacks for the already battered tourism industry. Many fear a massive drop in customers or may have to close completely because the operation is no longer worthwhile. “2G-plus”: only vaccinated or recovered people with a booster or a negative test are allowed in bars and restaurants. “The mood outside is dramatic,” says Ingrid Hartges, Managing Director of the Hotel and Restaurant Association Dehoga. The measures are not proportionate, the industry is not a pandemic driver. Then she calls numbers. From January to October 2021 alone, her industry lost almost 42 percent of its sales compared to the year before the crisis. According to Dehoga surveys, the loss was even greater in November and December, as many companies had to cancel Christmas and New Year’s business due to the restrictions. 55 percent of those surveyed fear for their existence – even though state aid was extended until the end of March. Ingrid Hartges from DEHOGA, the Berlin Hotel and Restaurant Association, considers the measures disproportionate Tourism hit differently Smaller companies in particular have been hit hard by the pandemic. “There is an absolute market shakeout taking place,” says tourism researcher Claudia Brözel from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development. Large tour operators or airlines would have made it through the pandemic better thanks to generous government support. In fact, the effects on the individual areas of tourism could hardly be more different. For example, holiday hotels in popular holiday regions benefit from the increased desire to travel in summer – some even made more sales than before the pandemic. No wonder, then, that tour operators are cautiously optimistic about the coming year. On the other hand, accommodation in cities, for example for conferences and business trips, has had hardly any guests for almost two years. This could remain the case even after the pandemic. Most experts assume that many business trips will continue to be replaced by online meetings in the future. “The pandemic has taught us that we don’t all need to travel,” says Claudia Brözel. According to the tourism researcher, anyone who still wants to survive must be innovative. The tourism industry needs to change, according to tourism researcher Dr. Claudia Broezel There is a shortage of workers everywhere But even if the industry should largely survive the pandemic, other major problems await. One of the most serious: the lack of workers. They were rare even before Corona. The pandemic has accelerated the trend, as many have now turned their backs on tourism and have switched to the automotive industry or retail. By September 2021 alone, around 100,000 workers had left the industry since the beginning of the pandemic, says Dehoga Managing Director Hartges. In an interview with DW, she called for an offensive for dual training, higher training pay, more appreciation for employees and a non-bureaucratic solution for the immigration of skilled workers from abroad. Tourism researcher Brözel blames not only the pandemic but also the industry itself. “Tourism is known for a lot of work, bad working hours and little salary,” says Brözel. “If you want to attract workers, you have to make more attractive offers”. Before the pandemic, Venice groaned under 25 million visitors, after Corona the lagoon city is planning a new beginning Future of the industry: Away from mass tourism? In many places, the pandemic has caused a rethink in the industry. Cities like Venice, which are plagued by tourist masses, have used the past few months to be able to offer better travel for guests and the city in the future. More and more providers are focusing on sustainable offers, for example according to the motto: Quality instead of quantity – even if this will probably make traveling more expensive. A trend that, according to tourism researcher Claudia Brözel, is also necessary to make the industry future-proof. For too long, people have relied on dumping prices that only made travel profitable in bulk. “Now the providers have understood that mass tourism is not bringing money into the city, but that it is being overrun,” says Brözel.



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