Positive outlook for the summer season – inflation clouds further expectations
Vienna (OTS) – In contrast to the lockdown-related total failure of the 2020/21 winter season in Austria (overnight stays -92.4%), tourism demand picked up steadily in the past winter after new closures at the beginning of the season, so that the gap from November 2021 to April 2022 to the pre-crisis level of 2018/19 was reduced to an average of just under 28% in overnight stays and a good 19% in terms of nominal tourism revenue. The expectations of the Austrian tourism industry for the current summer season are thoroughly positive; after two years of pandemic-related restrictions, the desire to travel is high both at home and abroad. However, the tense geopolitical situation caused by the war in Ukraine and its economic repercussions, especially the massive price increases, are increasingly clouding the outlook for the coming months.
Despite rising inflation and considerable economic and political uncertainties, the business assessment of the current business situation of European and Austrian tourism enterprises (according to GD GROW, Confidence Indicator for Industrial Ecosystems and WIFO Business Survey) is currently very positive: On the supply side, both indicators reached new highs in May 2022. Wage pressure due to the shortage of skilled workers and high inflation rates, rising commodity and energy prices, and the return to the standard sales tax rate in the hotel and catering industry after the expiry of the COVID-19-induced temporary reduction mean that further substantial price increases can also be expected in tourism in the near future. Rising costs will have a negative impact on entrepreneurial value creation, as early bookings were made at even lower prices, especially in the accommodation sector, which will reduce profits.
On a positive note, many guests – especially those in the middle and higher income brackets – are apparently willing to expand their vacation budgets for summer 2022 in order to take inflation into account and not have to restrict their travel plans. This is the result of a recent ÖAMTC survey of Austrians on summer vacations in 2022. According to this survey, the average vacation budget is expected to increase by 15% compared to 2021. In addition, many trips and the related expenses tend to be planned longer in advance and thus booked at a lower price in an environment of high and accelerating inflation rates. A decline in tourism consumption due to inflation is therefore probably only to be expected to a greater extent towards the end of the year.
The latest ÖAMTC survey also indicates a greater willingness to travel than in the two pandemic years; however, Austrian travelers will once again increasingly choose destinations abroad this summer (56% of respondents, 2021:
43%) – it can therefore be assumed that there will be a certain catch-up effect on foreign travel. Southern European destinations in particular will benefit from this increased willingness to travel internationally, combined with the desire to vacation by the sea, but Austrian city tourism, which was hit particularly hard by the effects of the COVID 19 crisis, could also benefit from these catch-up effects.
Given the current political and economic environment, but also the uncertainty about the further infection events, these forecasts are still subject to great uncertainty. Taking into account the above-mentioned factors and on the basis of the assumed development, the total number of overnight stays for summer 2022 would be around 75 million (Fig. 1).
Figure 1: Monthly development of overnight stays in Austria – on the [WIFO website] (https://www.wifo.ac.at/wwa/pubid/69686)
[press release] (https://tinyurl.com/hbjk47hm) from Statistics Austria (projection for arrivals and overnight stays).
For more information, please see [WIFO Research Brief 16/2022] (https://www.wifo.ac.at/wwa/pubid/69685).
For questions, please contact
Dr. Oliver Fritz, Tel. (1) 798 26 01 – 261, [email protected]
Anna Burton, MSc, BSc, Tel. (1) 798 26 01 – 339, [email protected]
on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, from 9 am to 2 pm.
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