Tourism Demand in the First Half of Summer 2022 Almost at Pre-crisis Level

14.09.2022

Energy Crisis and Inflation Dampen Expectations for the Winter Season

The tourism industry has been recovering at an increasing rate since the beginning of 2022: while domestic accommodation establishments still recorded around a third (‑32.6 percent) fewer overnight stays in January than in the same period of 2019, the shortfall had narrowed to an average of 15.3 percent by July. This significant upward trend is primarily attributable to the first half of the 2022 summer season (May to July), where 37.2 million overnight stays were recorded, almost returning to the pre-crisis level (‑4.3 percent).

Despite an increasing recovery in the tourism industry since the beginning of 2022, the general conditions for the tourism industry remain difficult. On the one hand, there is uncertainty about the further course of the pandemic, and on the other hand, the development of the European, as well as Austrian economy is inhibited by the energy crisis and high rates of price increases. This uncertainty is already apparent in the current WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey) from August 2022, with companies pointing to the current employment and business situation. Sectoral employment in July was higher than that of July 2019 and unemployment in the sector has already shown a downward trend since July 2021 (with the exception of the lockdown month of December 2021) compared with 2019. The labour shortage repeatedly lamented by industry representatives is thus likely to be associated with a lower volume of work despite rising employment.

Economic uncertainties remain high in the further course of winter 2022-23: if gas supplies from Russia are curtailed or even stopped completely, a recession is likely in Europe. In addition, inflation will continue to rise until the end of the year, thus significantly dampening demand from private households in Austria, but also in the most important countries of origin for the Austrian tourism industry. The price increases for essential goods such as electricity and food in particular, will force many households to reallocate their budgets – this will be at the expense of "luxury goods", which also include tourist services and vacation trips.

It is likely that many households will limit their spending on holidays. It remains open which savings strategies are pursued: foregoing vacation travel and/or cutting back on expenditure (shorter vacations, less expensive accommodations, alternative destinations, etc.). It is not yet possible to predict which strategies households will pursue for the coming winter season. In addition, there are also possible restrictions on the supply side, which could become necessary mainly due to the energy shortage.
  

Publications

Tourismusanalyse: Erholung seit Jahresbeginn, aber ungünstige Vorzeichen für den Winter (Tourism analysis: Demand Recovery Since the Beginning of the Year, but Unfavourable Signs for Winter Season)
WIFO Research Briefs, 2022, (22), 6 pages
Online since: 14.09.2022 9:00
Bedingt durch den Ukraine-Krieg und die massive Teuerung blieben die Rahmenbedingungen für die Tourismuswirtschaft auch nach dem weitgehenden Auslaufen der pandemiebedingten Maßnahmen schwierig. Dennoch erholte sich die Branche seit Jahresbeginn 2022 zunehmend: Verzeichneten die heimischen Beherbergungsbetriebe im Jänner noch rund ein Drittel (–32,6%) weniger Nächtigungen als im Vergleichszeitraum 2019, verringerte sich der Rückstand bis Juli auf durchschnittlich 15,3%. Dieser deutliche Aufwärtstrend ist vor allem auf die erste Hälfte der Sommersaison 2022 (Mai bis Juli) zurückzuführen, wo mit 37,2 Mio. Übernachtungen beinahe schon wieder das Vorkrisenniveau erreicht wurde (–4,3%). Gemessen an den Gästeankünften (11,8 Mio.) bestand von Mai bis Juli aktuell noch Aufholbedarf zum Vergleichszeitraum 2019 im Ausmaß von 7,5%. Im Jahr 2021 lag die Nachfrage in der ersten Sommerhälfte noch um 42,1% (Nächtigungen) bzw. 33,2% (Ankünfte) unter dem präpandemischen Niveau.
Please contact

Mag. Dr. Oliver Fritz

Research groups: Structural Change and Regional Development

Anna Burton, BSc, MSc

Research groups: Structural Change and Regional Development
© Max Duzij/Unsplash
© Max Duzij/Unsplash