Small glimmer of hope for the travel industry: The federal government is again introducing travel warnings for individual countries instead of the general warning for 160 countries. From the point of view of the industry, however, this is nothing more than a first “tentative” step.
The blanket travel warning for almost all 160 countries outside the EU and the Schengen area will end on September 30th. According to a decision by the Federal Cabinet, there should be assessments tailored to the situation in the individual states. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said on Wednesday that there will be little change in the ability to travel. The Tui example shows how hard the corona crisis hits the industry.
The world’s largest travel company cleared the way on Wednesday for further government aid worth billions to bridge the corona-related business slump. To survive the crisis, Tui has now secured government aid amounting to three billion euros.
A loan of 1.8 billion euros granted in April by the state development bank KfW is to be increased by 1.05 billion euros. In addition, 150 million euros are to go to Tui via a convertible bond signed by the Federal Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). Tui is pursuing a tough austerity course with job cuts and lower investments.
There will still be travel warnings
Regarding the travel warning, an AA spokeswoman said, “From October we will return to an individual system for each country.” Travel warnings for countries with risk areas will continue to exist. These could also be lifted if, for example, there are quarantine regulations. However, in such a case, travel is strongly advised against.
The travel association DRV described the decision as “a tentative step in the right direction”. In fact, little changes for customers and the industry. “The uncertainty remains as to when it will be possible to travel again and when entrepreneurs and employees will be able to earn something for a living again,” said DRV President Norbert Fiebig.
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Even after October 1, a travel warning will continue to exist for almost all countries. Fiebig demanded that only places and districts that exceeded the limit value of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) should in future be designated as a risk area and then given a travel warning – but not the rest of a region of a country. “Here the announcements of the federal government must now be promptly followed by action.”
60 percent of travel agencies are facing bankruptcy
Matthias von Randow, General Manager of the Federal Association of the German Air Transport Industry (BDL), also spoke of a step in the right direction. However, if the plan of the federal and state governments were to be implemented that from October onwards all travelers returning from risk areas would no longer be tested, but would have to be in quarantine, “this would result in a renewed lockdown of international travel,” warned von Randow.
A travel warning is not a ban, but is intended to have a significant deterrent effect. However, it also has a positive side for consumers: it enables travelers to cancel package tour bookings free of charge. The travel warning is issued regardless of whether a country is classified as a risk area.
On March 17, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) announced an unprecedented measure due to the rising number of corona infections: A warning against tourist trips to all around 200 countries in the world. It was not until June – immediately before the start of the main holiday season – that the countries of the European Union, the border-control-free Schengen area as well as Great Britain, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican State were excluded. However, there is currently a travel warning within Europe, for example for Spain as well as parts of France and Croatia.
The tourism industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the Corona crisis. The DRV fears a wave of bankruptcies. According to a survey by the association of almost 650 companies, more than 60 percent of travel agencies see themselves directly threatened with bankruptcy. It is a good half for tour operators.