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Travel

Travel trends for 2017: City - Sand - Sea

Where to go on holiday in 2017? To help potential customers decide, the travel companies have already got their catalogues out. And most agree that safety will again be a top priority among holiday-makers in 2017.

The facts and figures of the past months give the tourism industry cause for optimism: the demand for holiday offerings continues unabated - in spite of the lingering threat of terrorism. The UNWTO World Tourism barometer indicated an increase of 1.6 percent in overnight stays within Europe for the turbulent year 2016. So European tourism is still growing, even if no longer as rapidly as in previous years. And safety still ranks as the top selling point. 

Spanien Mallorca - Sangria im Eimer und Strohhalmen (picture-alliance/Dumont Bildarchiv/H. Schwarzbach)

Sangria flows freely on the party beach El Arenal near Palma de Mallorca

Viva España!

Spain and Portugal were last year’s most popular destinations and look set to top the list for 2017, as well. Travel companies are expanding their hotel capacities wherever they can.  Tui, the world’s largest tour operator, has acquired a good 20 percent more hotels on the Canary Islands alone. FTI has taken on 75 new hotels, and Alltours a full 100. But the beach capacity remains the same. Will vacationers find a spot to spread their towels on such overcrowded stretches of sand? In any case, they’ll have to splash out more cash for their summer vacation in Spain than in previous years. Prices are going up, as well. 

Portugal Vulkankrater mit Kratersee in Caldiera Negro (picture-alliance/blickwinkel/M. Lohmann)

Nine islands make up the Azores, including Flores with its volcanic lakes

A toast to the Azores!

Safe and sunny – Portugal scores on both counts. And it’s a lot less crowded than Spain, so demand is high. Beyond the long-standing vacation spots in the Algarve, the Azores are coming into their own as a new holiday destination. Starting in 2017, Ryanair will be offering affordable direct flights to the Atlantic archipelago. The rich diversity of nature makes the islands a paradise for hikers and holiday-makers just looking to get away from it all. 

Rock-bottom prices in Turkey

Turkey registered 33-percent fewer tourists in 2016. Whether the sector has any real chance exists to recover from such a steep drop remains to be seen. The tour operators haven’t started cutting hotel capacity just yet, but they’ve slashed the prices: Tui by five percent, Thomas Cook and Neckermann by eight percent. The hotels offer the same high quality for less money. But will such a bargain be enough to counter holiday-makers’ fears in 2017? 

Symbolbild - Ägypten Rotes Meer (picture-alliance/dpa)

Egypt’s beaches are beginning to fill again - as here in Sharm el Sheikh

Egypt looking for a comeback

Bargain-basement prices seem to be working to revive tourism in Egypt. So far, bookings for the winter season have been satisfactory. Observers are predicting that tourism in Egypt may recover to 2011 levels. There’s hope for Tunisia, as well. This winter, two cruise ships will be calling in Medina. And Tui has planned two full-charter flights to the vacation island Djerba. 

Frankreich Musee des Confluences Lyon (picture alliance/dpa/EPA/Q. Lafont)

The Musée des Confluences in Lyon, a science and anthropology museum

The move to the big cities continues

15-percent - no other tourism sector achieved that kind of growth in 2016. The Word Travel Awards named Lyon as Europe’s leading city break destination for 2016. Lonely Planet singled out Bordeaux as the trendiest town for tourists in 2017, while Tui concentrates on expanding its range of offers for northern European cities. The growth in city tourism is encouraged by the ever broader selection of private apartments and holiday lodgings available through sites like Airbnb. Even if a number of cities, including Berlin and Barcelona, London and Amsterdam have imposed strict regulations, travel companies are expecting continued expansion of this popular form of overnight accommodation. 

Kreuzfahrtschiff Explorer of the seas größtes Kreuzfahrtschiff Schiff Passagierschiff (picture alliance/AP Photo)

Holiday sea voyages are growing in popularity.

Cruise: full steam ahead!

The cruise industry is sailing from one record to the next. In 2017, 26 new liners will be embarking on their maiden voyages. The ships are growing in size and the on-board attractions in variety. The Norwegian Joy features a go-kart track; the MSC Seaside a 360-degree waterfront promenade deck. The Flying Clipper, the world’s biggest square-rigger, boasts a built-in diving pool extending over three decks. 

Industry association CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) figures are predicting 25.3 million passengers booking cruises worldwide in 2017. Americans, Germans and Brits, in particular, seem to have a taste for sailing the seven seas in the lap of luxury. 

Germany: churches, art and flora

Germany’s starting off the holiday year with fanfare: the opening of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. The German National Tourist Board (DZT) has added three more good reasons to make Germany a prime destination in 2017: the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the documenta contemporary art exhibition in Kassel and die IGA horticultural exhibition in Berlin. DZT chairwoman Petra Hedorfer is expecting many guests from the USA, South Korea and Scandinavia for the observance of the Reformation’s quincentenary.

But even without these main events, tourism experts are expecting another bumper year. The figures for overnight stays have been rising for years, especially in Berlin. So it’s hardly surprising that no less than ten new hotels have opened their doors in Germany’s capital. One of the year’s highlights will be the re-opening of the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden in October. But don’t look for the new BER Berlin Brandenburg Airport to be opening this year. Maybe in 2018. 

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