Düsseldorf The corona virus is hitting the travel industry hard. But private individuals also have to think about their holidays and journeys. We answer the most important Questions.
Are there restrictions for German travellers in other countries?
Yes, in Israel: Entry from Germany for non-Israeli citizens is generally no longer possible after Friday, unless they enter a 14-day quarantine. Transit passengers with connecting flights are not affected by this. Germans and travellers from Germany are also subject to restrictions elsewhere, for example in Kazakhstan, Eritrea, Nauru, Turkmenistan or Samoa.
Which destinations does the German Foreign Office advise against?
Some countries around the world have imposed travel restrictions due to the coronavirus – especially in Asia. The German Foreign Office recommends that travellers inform themselves about the current status before every trip, because if quarantine measures are imposed, for example, they may not expect to be taken home by the tour operator or the Federal Government. For the time being, we therefore advise against travel to China, Iran or parts of Italy.
Is flying risky?
The air in airplanes is usually filtered so well that viruses or bacteria are not simply distributed throughout the cabin. However, a lot of people are in a small space and this increases the risk of infection, for example if you cough.
What are the cancellation conditions with regard to the coronavirus for flight tickets and package tours?
The Consumer Advice Centre warns that the dangers posed by the coronavirus do not give holidaymakers the right to cancel a trip and receive an automoatic refund of travel expenses. The decisive factor is the situation at the holiday destination and the effects on the trip. However, many providers are fair and obliging. For new bookings, the large companies Tui, DER Touristik, FTI and Alltours offer that these can be cancelled or rebooked free of charge up to 14 days before departure. However, the details differ: Tui offers free rebooking and cancellation for new bookings until 18 April. For Alltours, all new bookings up to 30 April are included, but only for package tours. Travellers must contact DER Touristik at least 14 days before departure. With accommodation broker Airbnb, customers can cancel bookings of accommodation or activities in affected regions free of charge. For flights, Lufthansa and its offshoot Eurowings offer passengers the option of rebooking flights to Bologna, Milan, Verona or Venice to another date or destination free of charge. A surcharge may apply for other destinations.
What applies to train journeys?
Deutsche Bahn offers customers the option of cancelling their trip free of charge if an event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. Because long-distance trains are less busy, the company is offering online tickets for long-distance journeys from 12.90 euros per journey in a special campaign.
How will the season proceed?
It can be expected that destinations on the North and Baltic coast and in Alpine regions that can be reached by car will again be in high demand this year. Although tour operators and airlines are hoping that demand for air travel will pick up again significantly, the stock markets are telling a different story: The share price of Tui, which is as Europe's largest tour operator has halved since the end of November. Investors apparently expect that it will take some time before the demand for air travel recovers.
Will there be bargain prices at Easter or in summer?
For Easter, this can be considered likely, as tour operators have large capacities that they need to market. In summer, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis could be moderated because many people do not want to give up their classic holiday trip such as to Mallorca or Turkey. In addition, the number of illnesses might decrease in the summer.
(Original text; Reinhard Kowalewsky und Florian Rinke, translation John Chandler)