The great uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus is also reflected in the figures of the monthly Dr. Fried & Partner Tourism Sales Climate Index. For 15 years, this index has been recording the mood at the counter with regard to the current situation and assessment of the coming months. The result in March fell significantly and even undercut the result of the economic crisis in 2008/2009.
The large majority of 67.7% of the participating travel agencies (previous month 10.3%), perceive the current situation in the distribution of travel services as bad. Only 24.4% feel that the current situation is satisfactory. This figure was still 43.0% in February. Only 7.9% of those surveyed still regard the current situation in the sale of travel services as good. This figure was still 46.7% in the previous month.
The sales of travel services in the last 2-3 months compared to the previous year were still considered positive by many in February, but in March it is now apparent that the sales of travel services have fallen to 71.9% at the majority of the travel agencies surveyed. In the previous month this was 21.3%. Only 16.4% (previous month 34.3%) of the travel agencies surveyed reported a year-on-year increase in sales of travel services. 11.7% of the survey participants rate sales as unchanged.
The virus and the accompanying uncertainty have a strong impact on the current situation at the counter.
In regard to future demand for travel services, the participating travel agencies expect massive year-on-year declines. Only 7.0 % of those surveyed expect demand for travel services to rise in the next 6 months. In February, 22.2% of the respondents still shared this assessment. 16% of the travel agencies surveyed expect future demand to remain unchanged compared to the previous year. This figure was 62.0% in February. The vast majority, 76.6% of those surveyed, estimate that demand will decline year-on-year. In the previous month, 15.7% of participants expected this.
With regard to the future earnings situation, 5.5% of the respondents foresee an improvement (24.3% in the previous month). 11.7% of the participants indicate that the earnings situation will not change in the next 6 months. In February, 54.2% of the participants still assumed this scenario. The vast majority (82.8%) of respondents also expect the earnings situation to deteriorate in the next 6 months. Compared with the previous month, this assessment has risen sharply by 61.3 percentage points.
With regard to the future situation, travel agencies are even more pessimistic than with regard to the current situation.
Where the year 2020 started off so positively for travel agencies, a massive slump and little confidence is now noticeable. Even if the mood of the population still tends to want to go on holiday in 2020, entry regulations, quarantine measures or even border closures will prevent this from being realised. So far it is not foreseeable when normality will return.
In March 2020, 128 travel agencies took part in the survey (previous month 108)