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ECTAA: The current situation in travel industry is extremely serious

In a common press conference, held in Athens, the president of ECTAA<.>, The Group of National Travel Agents` and tour Operations` Associations within the EU, Carl Axel Rheborg and the president of HATTA<.>, Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agents, Giannis Evaggelou, outlined the impacts of September 11th on the travel industry…

In a common press conference, held in Athens, the president of ECTAA<.>, The Group of National Travel Agents` and tour Operations` Associations within the EU, Carl Axel Rheborg and the president of HATTA<.>, Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agents, Giannis Evaggelou, outlined the impacts of September 11th on the travel industry.



The president of ECTAA said that there were many financial problems before the September 11th, problems that were accelerated with the terrorist attacks. Companies wanted an excuse to reduce personnel. People react positively to reduced prices. When some travel agents reduced the prices of packages, they sold out`.



ECTAA during the meeting hand out the following Special County Report



Cancellations after 11 September 2001



In most countries, cancellations have been substantial with very few exceptions:

  • Denmark: an average of 25% cancellations in leisure, business and incoming tourism. Though coach and train travel has been hardly affected;
  • Finland: Some TO gave customers an opportunity to change the destination without any extra expenses if the departure was in a month`s time after the attack. But most TO followed strictly package travel legislation. Business travel has been affected in particular;
  • Germany: 30% in general and around 50% for North America. Cancellations were increasing but seem to have stabilised to a normal level;
  • Hungary: In inbound tourism approximately 15% of American visitors cancelled and in outbound tourism there were few cancellations;
  • Ireland: Very few cancellations as most airlines and all TO insisted on contracts for travel after 18th September remain valid;
  • Italy: 41% of the value of incoming tourist reservation as well as 46% of the value of package travel reservations has been cancelled;
  • The Netherlands: 15-20% cancellations of package travel with flights;
  • Norway: 90% cancellations for USA, up to 75% for cruises in Caribbean and 30% for others;
  • Portugal: Until 31st of October there were 50% cancellations in outgoing tourism and 12% in the incoming tourism;
  • Romania: 30% of total reservations;
  • Spain: approximately 30% during September;
  • Switzerland: approximately a month turnover.
  • Austria: 30%
  • UK: tour operators allowed cancellations without penalty to the affected areas for at least a week. Many businessmen/tourists chose not to travel even if this meant a penalty. Airlines experienced many `no shows`.
  • Turkey: approx. 100.000 cancellations occurred after 11th of September
  • Greece: Cancellations from overseas countries. No last minute reservations on leisure incoming packages.


Trend of booking after 11 September 2001

  • Croatia: turnover in air tickets is expected to drop by 20% for November and December (compared to growth of 32% for the period January to August 2001), long-haul packages by 50%, while ski holidays and cruises are relatively stable with 0 to + 5%;
  • Cyprus: decreasing;
  • Denmark: travel has picked up in the last 2 weeks of November. Travel particularly affected due to SAS accident in Italy;
  • Finland: 6-7 weeks after the terrorist attacks the demand of package tours has settled down; Bookings for the year 2002 are only slightly behind the figures of the corresponding last year;
  • Germany: bookings have decreased (leisure and business travel) during first weeks following the 11 September, but are increasing again during the last weeks;
  • Hungary: increased demand from West Europe for Hungary;
  • Ireland: scheduled traffic down by 50% on transatlantic routes and by 20% on European routes;
  • Italy: for package travel, about 55% of the value for the period September to December; for air tickets, 55% of the value for the same period for leisure travel and 42% for the business travel;
  • The Netherlands: bookings of holidays for this summer season 2001 show 0% growth in total (incl. flights, car-, etc.) compared to last year. Before 11 September total growth for the summer season was +3%;
  • Norway: down 10%, in September above 20%;
  • Portugal: 25% decrease in business travel and 40% for leisure travel;
  • Romania: Till end of September a small growth of 5% was registered;
  • Spain: 20-30% decrease compared to last year;
  • Switzerland: 50-60% compared to last year.
  • Austria: heavy breakdown immediately after the attacks, slow normalisation and now is catching up again
  • UK: Gradual increase particularly since late October (possibly due to school half-term) and recently since fall of Taliban
  • Turkey: 5% decline is anticipated in further bookings after 11th of September
  • Greece: No new reservations from overseas countries


Trend of bookings for winter season

  • Croatia: air tickets down 10%, air packages 15% down but bus tours remain the same and 5% increase in ski holidays;
  • Cyprus: standstill;
  • Denmark: not as good as before but satisfactory;
  • Finland: one month after 11 September 2001 the bookings for winter season were approximately 30% behind the figures for last year;
  • Germany: stabilised to last year`s level;
  • Hungary: ski vacations are in demand;
  • Ireland: bookings for winter sun and ski (at peak times) remain good;
  • The Netherlands: the bookings for the winter season are in total -8% lower than the same period last year. Package flight travel is down -21%, bus trips -17%, car holidays (accommodation only) is up +1%. Winter sport (mainly Europe) is up +8%;
  • Norway: down 5-10%;
  • Romania: winter season bookings increased by 5%;
  • Spain: 25% expected decrease;
  • Switzerland: 50-60% compared to last year.
  • Austria: 15-20%
  • UK: Ski bookings are holding up well, albeit are being booked closer to departure. Anticipated that winter 2001/2 will be down 10-15% against last year.
  • Mainland Spain and Canaries also selling well.
  • Turkey: 5% decline is anticipated in further bookings after 11th of September
  • Greece: Payments of deposits has been halted. Pre-bookings for 2002 have slowed down to a great extent. Requests for re-negotiation of prices have started coming up.


Choice of destination



Long distance destinations have decreased considerably while domestic travel and near-by destinations have increased. Most countries reported:



Most affected: USA, Middle East (Israel, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Pakistan), North Africa (especially Egypt, Tunisia), Turkey, the Caribbean, Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia, etc. Major European cities, such as London, are also affected.



Positive affected: Western Mediterranean, South Africa, Canary Islands, Australia and especially European neighbouring countries (especially skiing resorts).





New trends



In most countries, domestic travel and European city-breaks have seen a considerable increase (domestic business congress, cruises on European rivers and the Mediterranean). In Switzerland there are more short-term bookings (last minute) and city trips by train/bus. In Austria, city-trips have decreased (only some US or Japan tourists).





Travel services that have been most affected



In most countries business travel including air transport, hotels, car rental, congress and incentive travel has been badly affected. Cruises and leisure travel has also been hurt. On the other hand, travelling by rail and bus is doing well.





Agents which have been most affected



Outgoing tour operators specialised in air packages and their retailers, notably those that specialise in destinations, that have been particularly affected, are doing badly. The same is valid for air ticket agencies and business travel agents.



In some countries, notably in Finland, UK and in Cyprus, the big and medium-sized travel agents and tour operators have been badly affected, while in Portugal, Romania, Turkey and Ireland the small companies are more affected. In France, independent travel agents have been more hurt than the travel agents part of a network.



On the other hand, in Croatia incoming agents (ground operators, destination management, activity holidays, etc.) have continued to grow with a 13-20% increase (particularly those handling city trips).





Estimate of loss in turnover of travel agents and tour operators in the two months following 11 September



Most countries have reported a loss in turnover, with the exception of Croatia and Cyprus.

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