Traveling alone as a woman: expert tips

Do you want to explore the world but can’t find a suitable companion or just want to set off on your own? Traveling alone as a woman is no longer a specialty. On the contrary. More and more women get on a plane or another means of transport and explore the world on their own. However, in order to master possible challenges as a solo traveler, there are a few things to consider. We are happy to provide you with the most important tips for women traveling alone.

Planning before departure

Good preparation for a pleasant journey is the be-all and end-all. Read the following lines for everything you need to do. 

Gather information about destinations

For example, would you like to travel to India or explore the Atacama Desert in Chile? Then you should inquire about the general situation on site. Find out more about crime and the political situation online – we recommend the FDFA website . In addition, research the position of women in the respective countries. Gather information on medical and hygienic standards. These seemingly mundane details can help you a lot when preparing your trip.

Our tip: Do you have a queasy feeling in your stomach when you think about another continent? Then it might be a good idea to gain your first experience as a solo traveler within Europe. Our travel advisors will be happy to advise you.

Get insider tips for your travel destinations

With insider tips you can find out even more about a country than what is written in a travel guide, for example. Find out from your circle of friends – maybe someone you know has already been to this country and can give you a few valuable tips? Or do you yourself know a woman who has traveled alone and who can give you some advice on the way? Last but not least, we have quite a few travel advisors who travel alone every year and are happy to see you in the branch.

Preparations shortly before departure

Your travel destination has been set and the route is almost completely planned. Now there are a few more things to consider.

  1. Know local traditions

As a woman in particular, it is important to adapt to the cultural conditions in the countries. It is therefore necessary to find out about the cultural differences in advance. Especially in countries with a predominantly Muslim population, you should dress appropriately for the culture. Otherwise you will quickly be perceived as disrespectful and your behavior as provocative. You should always keep your knees and shoulders covered, including your hair if necessary. Appropriate clothing also shows that you respect the culture of the country and know your way around.

Our tip: With a thin cloth in your pocket, you are already well equipped. You can easily put it over your shoulders or tie it around your waist.

  1. Refill the first-aid kit

You should have the most important medicines with you, not only if you are traveling alone as a woman, but also if you are traveling in groups or with a partner. Here, too, it is advisable to inform yourself in good time and to get the necessary medicine. In particular, if you are drawn to tropical and exotic countries, you should find out about any vaccinations. In addition, certain hygiene articles are few or even non-existent in some countries. The pill and other contraceptive methods should also be stowed in the suitcase.

Exploring the countries of your choice

Now start your adventure and explore the wide world on your own. There are also a few special features on the way to avoid attracting negative attention as a tourist.

Baby Beach Aruba – Holy Shit!

Didn’t we think of a better title? No. Because there are places in this world that you don’t have to say much more about. Baby Beach in Aruba is one such place. Just: Holy Shit, it’s nice here. And we were there. Fuck, yeah! A piece of paradise? Yeah

To be honest, it’s not just Baby Beach that silences us in awe, but basically all of the wonderful beaches on Aruba and somehow the whole island. Rumor has it that Aruba actually has the most beautiful beaches in the entire Caribbean. Both Palm Beach and Eagle Beach have received multiple awards, and Eagle Beach is even considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Anyone who knows us a bit knows that we have an absolute soft spot for dream beachesthis world and in Aruba we have (at least for the time being 😉) found our personal paradise. We would like to share a piece of it with you and gradually introduce you to Aruba’s beaches over the next few weeks and provide you with lots of information (and pictures!). Baby Beach in the very southeast of the Caribbean island kicks off .

Baby Beach Aruba: powdered sugar beach and bright turquoise water

The beaches on Aruba all have one thing in common: fluffy, shimmering white sand and crystal clear, turquoise water. Baby Beach in the southeast of the island is a bit off the beaten track and is therefore relatively safe from most package holidaymakers and day tourists who come to Aruba on the big cruise ships. In general, comparatively few tourists get lost here, as it will be difficult to reach Baby Beach without a car.

The beach got its name because it is very popular with (local) families with children, because the water is extremely shallow and you can still stand waist-deep in the water hundreds of meters from the beach. The crescent-shaped lagoon is well protected from the current and is great for snorkeling. You won’t find a real snorkeling paradise here, simply because the lagoon is very shallow, but there are some funny, colorful fish. Boxfish in particular seem to like shallow water a lot, and we’ve discovered a lot of them!

Baby Beach Aruba

 

Although Baby Beach is said to be so popular with families, only a few families (and few people in total) were present, so you don’t have to worry about getting into conditions that could also be found at the pool of a Mallorcan family hotel. Baby Beach in Aruba is calm and uncrowded.

The only downer: the postcard idyll is a little disturbed by the oil refinery in the background. But don’t worry, the refinery has been shut down since 2012, it neither smells funny nor is you secretly poisoned. It’s really just the image that’s being disturbed a bit. But with a view towards the sea that shouldn’t really matter, at least it was for us. The white sand, the turquoise blue sea … we found the beach really magical!

Aruba's beaches |  Baby beach

Is the Baby Beach suitable for children?

Yes and no. To be honest, we were surprised that Baby Beach is explicitly described as particularly suitable for children. We would not subscribe to that 100%, because in the water there are sometimes rugged stones and real ‘fields’ of large stones, on which you can injure yourself while snorkeling thanks to the current. There are funny fish on the rocks, which is why snorkeling is really fun here, but there are also some sea urchins that you would rather not encounter. The current is generally limited, but the further you are from the beach, the stronger it gets. As a brief explanation: Aruba basically has two faces. The south side has wonderful powdered sugar beachesand hardly any current, the north side of Aruba is rugged, rocky and has no beaches. The current on the north side is very strong! Now Baby Beach is exactly on the southeastern tip of the island, once around the corner, the north side of Aruba begins. Therefore, the current at Baby Beach should not be underestimated. It’s great for children right on the water, but you shouldn’t underestimate the risk of injury from the stones and the current.

Otherwise, there is also a small beach bar and loungers with umbrellas at Baby Beach, which can most likely be used for a fee (which we didn’t do, beach loungers are stupid and sand is cool).

Aruba Baby Beach

How do you get to Baby Beach?

Even if the network of public transport in Aruba is comparatively well developed, going to Baby Beach will be difficult. The Arubus , Aruba’s bus route, does not run directly between Aruba’s center and Baby Beach. It works somehow, but it takes a long time and you have to change trains a few times. You can try muddling through here . But it is much easier with a rental car. Since Aruba is very small, the journey is quick and you can park for free near the beach.

Hiking routes in New Zealand

Hiking in New Zealand is a dream for nature lovers and world explorers. Here you can expect breathtaking landscapes with human and, above all, animal inhabitants. We asked our expert Kurt and summarized the most beautiful hiking routes for you.

The top 7 hiking routes in New Zealand

Feel true freedom as you discover New Zealand on your own on foot. A trekking trip on the island is an absolute dream for hikers, as you can explore incredible natural landscapes in the smallest of spaces. From the 3000-meter peaks in the New Zealand mountains to bays and surf where you can listen to the roar of the sea, there are no limits to your wanderlust.
Our travel experts have the following tips for a visit:

1. Abel-Tasman National Park: Inland Track

The Abel-Tasman National Park is located on the north coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Enchanted bays and dense rainforests extend over 225 square meters. The Inland Track Route takes you around 38 kilometers from Tinline Bay to Torrent Bay. The hike takes between three and five days, depending on your stamina, and is especially suitable for experienced athletes.

2. Kahurangi National Park: Arthur Table Land Circuit

The Arthur Table Land Circuit in Kahurangi National Park is a two-day tour for experienced hikers. The 28 kilometer loop leads from the Flora parking lot via Salisbury Lodge, Gordons Pyramid and Mount Arthur Hut back to the parking lot. The hike takes you through rocky gorges and cloud forests to lush green mountain ridges.

3. Nelson-Lakes National Park: Travers-Sabine Circuit

The 80-kilometer Travers-Sabine Circuit in Nelson Lakes National Park is an adventure tour that is particularly suitable for experienced hikers. The view from the Alpine Travers saddle is particularly worthwhile. Here you have an incredible view of Mount Travers with its 2338 meters of altitude. Another highlight is the Blue Lake Hut on the lake of the same name, accessible by water taxi across Lake Rotoroa and two days of trekking. The easily accessible path leads through the southern beech forest typical for this area along the Sabine River up to 1200 meters above sea level and is only 100 m away from the wonderful Blue Lake.

4. Mount Aspiring National Park: Young Wilkin Valley Circuit

You should plan three to four days for the 58-kilometer Young Wilkin Valley Circuit and already have hiking experience. You can expect beautiful, wide mountain landscapes with colorful meadow flowers, deep blue lakes and steep peaks. Important: You must be able to cross rivers for this hike.

5. Westland National Park: Copland Valley / Welcome Flats Hut

The hike through the Copland Valley to the Welcome Flats Huts is a relaxed two-day tour of medium difficulty. The hot springs in the national park are a special highlight. So be sure to pack your swimwear. You can also expect steep suspension bridges through the cloud forest, turquoise blue rivers and an enchanted forest landscape.

6. Paparoa National Park: Inland Pack Track

The 25-kilometer Inland Pack Track takes you on the traces of the historic gold rush route through Paparoa National Park. The two-day hike is perfect for beginners and can best be done with an overnight stay in a tent. Attention: The path leads repeatedly along a river bed, which has to be crossed several times.

7. Stewart Island: Rakiura National Park

The Rakiura National Park on Steward Island is a special gem for nature and animal lovers. Rakiura means something like the land of shining skies, a homage to the beautiful sunsets in the national park. The park is also perfect for watching the shy kiwi birds. It is especially nice when you sleep in a tent at night and listen to a concert of wild songbirds.

These are the most spectacular hikes in the world

Out into nature: A new illustrated book presents the 100 most beautiful hikes. The selection ranges from an easy beginner’s tour as a day trip to a multi-day trekking route for sure-footed professionals.

In northern Sweden, Lapland, there is a natural landscape with extensive valleys, beautiful forests, rivers, lakes and glaciers – a wilderness that appears untouched by human hands. The picture shows the Rapadalen region in the National Park founded in 1919, an area that only experienced hikers should venture into.

Walking, hiking and trekking are trendy. The range of physical activity is as diverse as in hardly any other leisure activity: The selection ranges from a harmless walk, a long day hike on a signposted route to a challenge of several weeks through wild nature with several nights in a tent.

Beware of wanderlust: When looking at these photos you will be overwhelmed by the desire to travel

His travels have taken him to the most exotic islands and the most remote corners of the world: the aviation photographer Dietmar Plath shows his most beautiful photos in an open-air exhibition in Hamburg.

On-site meeting in the shadow of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. On the Übersee-Boulevard in the Hafencity, which is also frequented by tourists, one large-format color photo follows the other in the middle of the promenade. ” Wanderlust ” is the title of the open-air exhibition.

What all 50 photos have in common is that they show large and small aircraft, from single-engine propeller aircraft to Airbus A380s. But it is not about the optical result of a plan spotters, but about works by Dietmar Plath, Germany’s most famous aviation photographer.

Promenade with airplane photos

His photos always show more than just technology, but the aircraft in spectacular landscapes, often in connection with people, for whom aircraft are more than just a means of transport. “I want to show the planes where they are at home,” explains Plath during a tour.

The exhibition was already planned last year, when the corona pandemic was not yet an issue, which almost brought global air traffic to a standstill. “Many remote places in the world cannot be reached by land or water or can only be reached with a great deal of effort and risk. Without air traffic, they are hardly economically viable,” says Plath.

For more than 30 years, the North German has visited around 600 airports in 130 countries and always waited for the right moment on site. He often had to wait hours and days for the weather and the light to be right, whether on Easter Island, in the Antarctic or in the Himalayas . “But then the machine suddenly came from the other direction,” recalls Plath.

For his passion, he spent almost 10,000 hours in airplanes, fought against almost insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles and had luck again and again in four decades. This was also the case with a crash in the Brazilian jungle, which he only barely survived.

In his biography “Adventure Aviation Photography” he tells the stories of his famous photos. How it came to the snapshot with the iguana on the runway or why it suddenly rained cattle halves on the approach to landing on La Paz.

Miami Travel – The Magical City

Take a trip to Miami and discover “the Magic City”, as the locals like to call it. Actually, the city name has its origin in the Indian word Mayaimi, which means something like “big water”. Both terms hit the point. The city on the water impresses with countless palm-tree beaches and has magically attracted visitors for decades. Drive along Ocean Drive, shop on Lincoln Road and enjoy your Miami city break to the full.

Downtown Miami – Spanish meets English

Well, am I still in the USA? This question arises in Downtown Miami when you suddenly read Spanish on street signs everywhere and hear the sound of salsa. Nearly 70 percent of Miami’s population has a Latin American background. And it’s no wonder that so many Spanish speakers have settled here, because the city is just beautiful. For you it has the advantage that you can refresh your rusty Spanish skills in addition to English on your Miami trip.

Little Havana

And while we’re on the subject. Little Havana belongs to Miami like the air you breathe. Here you can not only buy Cuban cigars, but also a diverse cultural offer and excellent restaurants. In the Cuban district you are guaranteed to get a real Caribbean feeling on your Miami trip.

Art Deco district

One of the largest Art Deco districts in the world is located very close to South Beach. Whether you were a “Miami Vice” fan or would like to visit the film set of the Hollywood flick “Crazy About Mary”, there is a lot to see and experience here. In this quarter of the beautiful and the rich, tourist guides like to chat between the 960 magnificent buildings and learn a few true insider stories.

Miami with children

A trip to Miami is great for families with children or teenagers. The city has many attractions, such as the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key or the nearby Miami Beach, where you can relax and swim together. Miami is also the ideal stopover for a rental car tour through Florida. Here you can take a breather before heading to attractions such as Disneyworld or Universal Studios.

 

Miami travel instead of vacation

True to our motto “Miami travel instead of vacation”, we want to explore sights away from Miami Beach. If you travel to the Sunshine State Florida, you will want to get to know highlights such as the Everglades National Park, Key West or Fort Myers in addition to a city trip to Miami. Whatever your plan, we’re happy to provide tips and advice for your very own Miami trip.

More than half of the Balinese economy was dependent on tourism – now the country has to rethink

Bali hosted 600,000 tourists in June of last year. This year it was 32 in the same month. And what do the Balinese do with the time they have gained? They dig up gardens and have an unusual hobby.

Kuta Beach is hardly recognizable. Where in Bali Otherwise sun worshipers from all over the world cavort, masseuses offer their services and vendor sellers advertise sarongs and ice cold Bintang beer, there has been a lull since March. The famous sunsets over the Indian Ocean also take place without an audience. No excursions to the rice terraces of Tegallalang, no “temple hopping” to the facilities of Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and Besakih, no yoga retreats in Ubud – the tourism industry, which is so important for the Indonesian island, is on the ground because of the corona virus. More than half of Bali’s economy depends on it, and most Balinese work either directly or indirectly in the travel sector. No wonder: According to the local statistics office, more than six million international guests visited the island of the gods last year “,

The Vice-Governor Cok Ace calculated in early summer that Bali would lose 9.7 trillion Indonesian rupees every month as a result of the pandemic – more than 550 million euros. An enormous number for such a small island. June, July and August are usually the high season for sun, culture and party seekers from Australia, China or Europe. In direct comparison: While 600,000 foreign guests were counted in June 2019, this June there were 32.

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Terrorism, Avian Flu and Corona
Bali is used to crises. The island was attacked by terrorists in 2002 and 2005, and hundreds of holidaymakers were among the victims. The tourism sector had just recovered to some extent when the bird flu struck in 2007 – but the H5N1 virus was also unable to bring the island to its knees. At the end of 2017, volcanologists warned of a major eruption of the Gunung Agung, many canceled their planned trips for fear of the Fire Mountain. The disaster did not materialize and the tourists came back. With the corona virus, however, an opponent has struck who has had the industry in a stranglehold for months. Can she recover again?

When local tourists from the neighboring islands were allowed to arrive again for the first time at the end of July, they were received at the airport in Denpasar with great fanfare and garlands of flowers. The relief was so great that a local minister even described the day as “historic”. The figures, however, speak a different language: “The opening up to local tourism had no significant effects on hotel occupancy,” the news portal “Kompas” quoted the spokesman for the IHGMA hotel association, Made Ramia Adnyana. On the weekend of August 22nd to 23rd, just 4900 tourists from other islands would have visited Bali. A piece of cake when you consider that 130,000 hotel rooms are ready. And another cold shower followed: Plans to bring Bali from Nov. Reopening September for foreign holidaymakers had to be discarded in August. Until at least the beginning of 2021. It is better to be safe than sorry: “Bali must not fail when it comes to revitalizing tourism because it could damage Indonesia’s image in the world,” warned Bali Governor Wayan Koster.

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Bali needs new sources of income
At the same time, demands are getting louder that Bali must become more independent of tourism . That would also be an opportunity for a more sustainable new beginning. Because the boom also had a downside: mass tourism and garbage, commerce and binge drinking – apart from a few idyllic places away from the tourist trail, Bali was no longer the tranquil hippie and surfer paradise from the 1970s. For Bali, the travel ban is also a blessing, it is finally quiet, nowhere is traffic chaos.

“That’s something special,” says Alejandro Fernandez-Cruz. The Spaniard has lived in Ubud with his family for three years . In all that time he has only ever seen Bali packed with tourists. Now, however, the expats and the locals are moving closer together, says the 51-year-old. “Of course it is also sad that so many restaurants and shops are closed – but the Balinese help each other. That is part of their way of life.”

With tropical fruits to independence?
Many have turned to agriculture. For example in Tegeh Sari, a community in the capital Denpasar, where residents have transformed a 1,000 square meter former garbage dump into blooming farmland. They grow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and malabar spinach here. “Now we at least no longer have to buy the vegetables on the market,” says Putu Gede Himawan Saputra, who, like his colleagues, has so far made his living from tourism. And the cultivation of the site has another advantage, especially in times of Corona: “With the fresh vegetables we can strengthen our immune system.”

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Governor Koster also pointed out the great potential of Balinese agricultural products in July – especially with a view to tropical fruits. “Salak (snake skin fruit) is already in great demand and we are also preparing a market for dragon fruit.” In general, after so many setbacks, Koster would like to place Bali’s economy on more pillars than just tourism, including the innovation sector and the manufacturing industry. Still, the pandemic has hit the Balinese hard. Even if the virus itself gives the island some respite from the masses, people suffer from job loss and financial difficulties.

More time for an unusual hobby
“We Balinese tend not to show our feelings,” says Wayan Partawan, who usually works as a yoga teacher at a well-known resort. Currently he can only give online courses. “We look happy on the outside, but behind that is sadness,” he says. Something else is striking these days. The residents are increasingly pursuing one of their great passions: flying kites. Anyone who knows Bali knows about this passion of the islanders. Kites are considered lucky charms by the Hindu Balinese, so it is perhaps no coincidence that so many are currently romping about in the sky.

Marine protection while traveling? That’s how it’s done!

Clean sea versus polluted sea. It goes without saying whose side we travelers are on. But just being on the right side is not enough, on the contrary. Actively doing something against pollution is essential. But what? We asked our partner OceanCare what every traveler can do to protect our seas. And on top of that there is background information.

Tip 1: Avoid single-use plastic

Every year around nine million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans. So that this number doesn’t get any bigger, you can:

  • Take a reusable bottle with you and fill it up with tap water. Sure, that’s not always possible. Then either prefer large water containers or filter / boil water.
  • Generally go shopping with reusable bags. And take a so-called veggie bag with you for fruit and / or vegetables, which is available, for example, in the OceanCare shop
  • Drink cocktails and other drinks only by the glass, avoid plastic drinking straws and generally avoid disposable dishes.
  • Take soap with you instead of shower gel wrapped in plastic.
  • Pay attention to cosmetic products without microplastics.
  • Choose travel clothing made from natural fibers. When washing clothes made of polyester, nylon and acrylic, the smallest fibers, so-called microfibers, loosen and they get into the environment via the sewage.

Tip 2: lend a hand with «beach cleaning»

Around eighty percent of the garbage comes from the mainland and gets into the sea via sewers and rivers or through wind drifts. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, seals and turtles fall victim to plastic waste, and the number of sea birds that have died runs into the millions. The animals starve to death with their stomachs full of plastic or drown because they get entangled in plastic parts.

  • Collect carelessly discarded plastic waste and dispose of it properly.
  • Help with an organized “beach cleaning”. (For example, ask in your accommodation, in your dive center, etc.).
  • How about you initiate your own cleanup? Maybe with other travelers and true to the motto: Leave the beach cleaner than you found it.

Tip 3: When it comes to fish and seafood, let your culinary sense prevail

The abundant fish offer in shops and restaurants is deceptive. Almost everywhere today more fish are caught than can regrow. Fish from farms are not a real alternative either. The following we can specifically contribute to protecting marine life:

  • Basically, just no fish consumption is sustainable. But if you don’t want to do without sea fish or seafood while traveling: make sure that the animals come from sustainable catches.
  • Prefer local fish. For example, eating salmon in the Maldives is ecological nonsense.
  • Stay away from endangered fish species such as swordfish, monkfish or tuna (six of the eight tuna species are considered endangered).

Tip 4: choose sun protection wisely

Thousands of tons of sunscreen get into the water every year. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that destroy coral reefs even in low concentrations. Basically there are two types of sun creams: physical (inorganic, mineral) or chemical (organic) protective filters. The particularly problematic chemicals are octinoxate and oxybenzone. Both are banned in Hawaii. Micro- and nanoplastic particles are also often found in sunscreens.

  • Choose sun creams made from natural cosmetics with mineral UV filters. Here you will find a list with a selection
  • If you want to do without sun cream at all, protect yourself with clothing or prefer shady spots.

Tip 5: Avoid wildlife shows

When traveling, many people wish to come into contact with wild animals. It is precisely the image of dolphins as petting animals, who playfully seek out our society, tempting more and more people to touch the animals or want to swim with them. The consequences for these highly sensitive animals, which are disturbed and stressed by these interactions, are forgotten.

  • Basically: no swimming with dolphins.
  • Research trips or respectful whale watching = yes
  • Dolphinarium visit = No.
  • Also avoid riding elephants, going to the circus with wildlife, visiting fur farms, bullfighting, etc.

Tip 6: treat nature (underwater) with respect

Animals don’t like to be in the spotlight all the time, they also need rest. Direct interactions can be particularly disruptive.

  • Enjoy the beauty of the marine world while snorkeling and diving without touching corals, shells or marine animals.
  • Refrain from noisy water sports.


Tip 7: Steer clear of problematic souvenirs

Ornaments (and also wooden objects) are often stolen from nature under dire and harmful circumstances. In addition, the import of whale products (including checked baggage or hand luggage) into the EU, the USA or other countries contradicts both national and international law and can lead to criminal prosecution. For the reasons mentioned, avoid souvenirs such as corals, shells, hair accessories made of tortoiseshell, souvenirs made of whale products, carvings made of rare woods, etc.

Tip 8: Compensate for CO2 emissions

When traveling over shorter distances, choose the train if possible. Cruise ships are particularly harmful because they contribute to the pollution of the seas with cheap heavy fuel oil. Ship noise also disturbs the orientation of marine animals. When traveling, in particular, it is difficult to prevent an increase in the CO2 footprint. Nevertheless, we can all contribute to climate protection by offsetting unavoidable emissions with climate protection measures.

  • Compensate for the CO2 emissions of your flight or car journey via myclimateor directly from the Globetrotter travel advisors.
  • Support the “Plant for the Planet” tree-planting campaign and contribute to climate justice

We are convinced that we are all well equipped with these valuable tips from OceanCare and that we are doing one or two good things for our planet – be it at home or while traveling. Speaking of travel.

Bavarian Forest: untamed nature in the heart of Europe

50 years ago the idea became reality: Germany’s first national park was founded. To mark the anniversary of the Bavarian Forest National Park, a new illustrated book shows the largest forest reserve in Central Europe between Germany and the Czech Republic.

The motto for Germany’s oldest national park is: “Let nature be nature”. The Bavarian Forest National Park, together with the neighboring Šumava Biosphere Reserve in the Czech Republic, forms the largest forest reserve in Europe.

In the meantime, the area has been expanded to more than 24,000 hectares. Flora and fauna were able to recover more and more. Not only wolves, lynxes, otters and capercaillie have returned with the help of humans with attempts to settle, but also many microorganisms, rare mushrooms and herb species.

Tourism in crisis: A massive wave of bankruptcies threatens

The travel industry almost wrote off the disaster year 2020. Now it’s about surviving the corona crisis and the coming year. What chances do travel agencies and tour operators still have?

Travel warnings, insecure vacationers, business standstill and anger about reimbursement of customer money: The tourism industry is experiencing an unprecedented crisis . The industry has largely written off the current year of the Corona crisis. “The year 2021 will be the year of the decision,” said Ingo Burmester, head of Central Europe at DER Touristik.

The industry, which was shaken by the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook a year ago, does not expect a quick return to its old strength. “There will only be a radical recovery in demand when a corona vaccine is available. Until then, we have to stabilize the industry so that a massive wave of bankruptcies is avoided,” said Burmester.

When will cruises boom again?

Tourism expert Torsten Kirstges from Jade University in Wilhelmshaven is confident that people’s travel habits will “normalize a little again in the coming year. In two or three years at the latest, cruises will boom again, and long-distance trips will be made again and caught up.” He assumes that travel behavior will not fundamentally change in the medium term.

But how many tour operators and travel agencies will survive by then? The companies not only lost revenue during the crisis. You will also need to repay money for canceled trips, unless customers rebook or accept a voucher. In addition, there is the annoyance of customers because there were delays in the refund of down payments, especially at the beginning of the Corona crisis.

Rebookings instead of new bookings

“What is happening in the travel industry now has almost epic dimensions compared to all crises”, reported Ralf Hieke, managing director of the Strier travel agency. Ingo Lies, founder and head of the company Chamäleon, who specializes in sustainable travel, currently invests 10,000 euros per day from “our reserves” into the company. “This year is largely over. Now it’s mainly about 2021. We currently have more bookings for the coming year than at the same time in 2019 for 2020, but it is mainly about rebooking,” Lies reported.

The DER Touristik Manager Burmester sees it similarly: “The demand in 2021 will be lower due to a lack of advance bookings. The current bookings are mainly due to rebooking.” He estimates that around 20 percent of tourism companies are currently at great risk of insolvency. “By 2021 the number will increase to 50 percent.”

After all: the interest in traveling next summer seems to be there. According to the latest data from Travel Data + Analytics (TDA), the 2021 summer season already accounted for 21 percent of booking sales in July. “The desire to travel is there this year and will also be there next year,” says Tui-Cruises -Chief Wybcke Meier confident. “We already have a lot of bookings in the system. Whether all the planned travel routes will be feasible depends of course on what is going on at the time.”

Bookings for the coming winter season

Tui Cruises is currently on the move with three ships. “We hope to be on the road again with all seven ships by spring at the latest, with a little less occupancy, in order to continue our health concepts and thus give our customers comfort and the greatest possible safety,” said Meier.

According to Travel Data + Analytics, bookings for the coming winter season have remained weak recently. Many travel destinations, especially long-distance trips, are currently not yet plannable due to travel warnings. The industry accuses politicians of having contributed massively to the uncertainty of vacationers. “The Foreign Office no longer decides on travel warnings alone. One ministry softens the other’s statements. That unsettles customers,” criticized Hieke.

There is little understanding for the statements by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) that the federal government will not bring stranded holidaymakers back again. “That was absurd,” said Kristges. “The organizers are obliged to do so. Those who are no longer brought back are the individual travelers.” Burmester also emphasizes: “The package tour is the safest form of travel with insolvency protection and the repatriation of guests by the organizer in the event of a crisis.”